Vegas set new franchise win mark to start season
The Vegas Golden Knights are 4-0-0 to start their season for the first time in franchise history.
Vegas beat Arizona, 5-2, from the T-Mobile Arena in their second of four games against the Coyotes.
The Knights are one of the last three undefeated teams in the league, accompanied by the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers.
“We talked the entire time coming into this season about getting off to a good start,” head coach Pete DeBoer said. “The guys put in a lot of work and this is the direct result of how hard they prepared. Both goalies have been a big part of that.”
With their 4-0 record, Vegas will turn its attention to the team’s first road series, Friday, Jan 22 and Sunday, Jan 24 in Arizona.
It’s the first time in history two teams have played each other four straight times.
The Knights lead the all-time series, 10-4, but did fall short to Arizona, 4-1, on the road against the Coyotes in the 2019-20 regular season.
Going into the second game against Arizona, eight of the 12 Vegas goals occurred in the third period.
“We wanted to focus tonight on our start,” defensemen Shea Theodore said. “I thought we took it to them.”
Both of the first two goals scored were by defensemen just eight and a half minutes into the game.
“It’s a big part of our offense. The way we play, we’re asking those guys to get up in the rush and get involved in the offensive zone,” DeBoer said. “I think we have a group back there that can really add to our offensive game. All six of those guys have that ability.”
Theodore scored the first goal a little over five minutes into the game off assists from right-wing Alex Tuch and defensemen Alec Martinez.
Defensemen Alex Pietrangelo quickly followed with his first goal as a Golden Knight, 8:33 into the first period.
“We were talking before the game and the [defensemen] hadn’t gotten [a goal] yet in three games so we were due” Pietrangelo said before adding that it was the first game for his kids at T-Mobile. “I told them I was going to score so it’s funny how things work out.”
Pietrangelo spent his entire 11-year career with the St. Louis Blues before signing a seven-year, 61 million dollar contract with Vegas.
Tuch and right-wing Keegan Kolesar got the assist on Pietrangelo’s goal, Tuch’s second of the night.
Right-wing and captain Mark Stone scored in the second period to give Vegas a 3-0 lead. The assist came from left-wing Max Pacioretty and defensemen Nicolas Hague.
Stone leads the league with seven points in four games.
When asked what Stone doesn’t get enough credit for, Theodore answered, “I think everything honestly, his stick is too good at knocking pucks down, he’s always in the right spot. He’s our captain for a reason.”
Arizona’s Nick Schmaltz scored a goal in the second period to make it a 3-1 game.
Theodore put Vegas ahead 4-1 in the third period with his second goal of the night off assists from center Jonathan Marchessault and right-wing Reilly Smith.
Tuch broke the power play drought with a goal 6:14 into the third period with an assist from Stone.
The Knights were 1-for-7 on power plays Wednesday against the Coyotes after starting the season 0-for-10.
Vegas gave up one more goal to right-wing Phil Kessel but held them there for a final score of 5-2.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury got his second start of the season, again in all gold.
Fleury had 21 saves on 23 shots, for a save percentage of .913.
“The biggest thing about those games is we got better. I think today was one of our better, most complete one.” Fleury said. “We’re not going to win them all but if we can keep improving on our game and get better as a team, we’ll do well.”