The puck stops here
Las Vegas is home to some of the best attractions, restaurants and nightclubs in the world. This year, the Entertainment Capital of the World added one more thing to that list—National Hockey League professional players.
The Vegas Golden Knights are the city’s first major professional sports team, and when they take the ice at T-Mobile Arena, the best hockey players in the world are on display.
Yes, the road teams will bring star power. Connor McDavid will play here with Edmonton, Alex Ovechkin with Washington and Sidney Crosby with Pittsburgh. But the Golden Knights, off to the best start by a NHL team in its inaugural season in NHL history, has its share of stars.
The leader of the Vegas Golden Knights spends games between the pipes. When general manager George McPhee selected Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins during June’s expansion draft, he brought in a goaltender with 375 career regular season wins, 62 playoff wins and three Stanley Cup Championships.
Fleury is 32, but has proven that he is still an elite goalie, starting with the Knights’ season-opening win in Dallas where he stopped 45 of the 46 shots he faced.
Vegas Golden Knights
“He’s unreal,” said Golden Knights forward and leading scorer James Neal. “He’s a great guy and an unbelievable goalie. The guy has won three Stanley Cups and now he’s here battling with us, and it’s great.”
Fleury helped the Penguins to championships in 2009, 2016 and 2017, and in a finals appearance in 2008. The Golden Knights obviously lack the talent around him that Pittsburgh had, but they can rest easy knowing they have an all-star goalie.
When rules for the expansion draft were released, it was clear the Golden Knights would be unable to attain a superstar scorer. But the team may have found one anyway, in former Nashville Predators player Neal.
In his nine seasons in the NHL, Neal never scored fewer than 20 goals a season, and did it with three different teams. Now in his 10th season, the 30-year-old already appears well on his way to doing it again, this time with his fourth team as a Golden Knight after scoring six goals in their first four games. “When you’re feeling it, you think you can score on every shot,” Neal said. “I’ve scored a lot of goals in the league, and you will always go through hot streaks and droughts, but when you’re feeling it and in the zone, you do everything you can to keep it going.”
In his 11th season in the league and playing for his fifth team, David Perron may have finally found his NHL home with the Vegas Golden Knights. The winger came to Las Vegas with 100 career goals and 139 career assists and has continued racking up the points on his newest team.
“The first few games I was finding Neal a lot and he was scoring so I got into the mindset of being a passer, but I need to be able to shoot pucks when I have the opportunity,” Perron said. Perron didn’t score in the first five games of the season with the Golden Knights, but scored twice in the sixth, including the game winner in overtime.
T-Mobile Arena, Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings, 5 p.m. Nov. 19, starting at $65 plus tax and fee. 888.929.7849