The Vegas Golden Knights have had many firsts in their inaugural season, but playing in a playoff game was a new experience. Winning one was even better.
First period action
There's a new energy, a new intensity when two teams face each other in the playoffs. Mistakes can cause a game to be lost, so when you can only lose four games, the pressure builds... the games are pivotal.
The Kings after missing the playoffs last season were ready. The Golden Knights may have had butterflies, but it didn't show as they scored the first goal the 3:23 mark. Shea Theodore's shot from inside the blueline found its way past the LA Kings' goalie Jonathan Quick.
The story of the first stanza was the physicality displayed by both teams. The hits always increase in the postseason, but bodies were flying with regularity. The Kings have the advantage in this area, as they are a bigger team than Vegas. The Golden Knights are more of a finesse team but even they knew they needed to hit the Kings to compete.
When teams get physical scruffs in front of the net are inevitable.
These two teams do not like each other. In this period the Kings had two power-play chances, but couldn't solve Marc-Andre Fleury. The Golden Knights had one power play without a result.
The L.A.club outshot the Vegas team 12-8.
End of one, 1-0 Vegas.
The hits continued and in fact, after this period there were an amazing 101 hits recorded in the game with the Kings maintaining a 52-49 lead. The game was moving to a defensive battle and as expected the goaltending was dominant.
Jonathan Quick is one of... if not the best goalie as far as his lateral movement is concerned. On several occasions, he moved like a cat across his crease to make the stop. His glove work is exceptional.
Fleury matched him but didn't allow a goal in getting his 11th career playoff shutout. He is quite the showman and is in the right town to show off his skills.
The Kings missed a golden opportunity to tie the game when Dustin Brown missed a wide-open net at about the 14:45 mark.
The score remained 1-0 Vegas.
Missed chances, they kill you.
The game was marked by hits and the final totals showed the Kings came out on top with 68 to Vegas' 59. The final period was tightly played, and the Golden Knights played excellent defense against the best defensive team in the NHL.
Drew Doughty was the target of quite a few hard checks, as the Golden Knights tried to slow him down.
The Kings pulled Quick with about one minute remaining, but the Vegas team is quick to the loose pucks that the LA team could not even mount a threat to tie the game in the waning seconds.
The three stars of the game were not surprising as Fleury was the #1 star and Quick the #3 star.
It's only one game, and you can expect the Kings to come out strong in Game 2. Vegas seemed very calm and collected in their initial playoff game.
What was your take on the Golden Knights first playoff win? Will the Kings bounce back in Game 2? Vavel will have all the coverage for the Friday night affair.