LAS VEGAS – There have been plenty of firsts during the six-year history of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Most of them occurred during the team’s storybook inaugural season which saw the expansion team win the Pacific Division, Western Conference and play in the Stanley Cup Final despite being 500-1 preseason longshots to win it all in their first year.
Many of those moments have been duplicated this season as the Golden Knights once again won the Pacific Division, Western Conference and are playing in their second Stanley Cup Final in six years.
In 2018, similar to this season, the Golden Knights easily stormed through the first round, advanced past the second round in six games and became Western Conference champions on the road. They went on to win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena and were just three wins away from one of the most improbable seasons in professional sports history.
That would be as far as Vegas would get in 2018 as they went on to lose the next four games to the Washington Capitals.
Up until now, this Golden Knights run has often mirrored that of the original “Golden Misfits” but after beating the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena, they are now looking for a sharp pivot and to carve out their own unique path with every win from this point forward serving as the biggest win in franchise history.
Monday’s Game 2 will be their first step towards rewriting a script that was penned six years ago but never got the storybook ending it deserved.
The Golden Knights’ dressing room was surprisingly subdued following the Game 1 victory. There are still six players on this Golden Knights team that were on the team five years ago and they know it will take more than one win to hold the Stanley Cup,
“Winning one, that’s nothing,” said Vegas Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault. “It’s good for our group but that’s nothing. We have so much more to do. Our group is focused on Game 2 and we have to have that mentality. We haven’t done anything so far.”
It was a sentiment echoed by many of Marchessault’s teammates who were on the inaugural roster 2017-2018.
“It’s a good feeling but we know we’re not even close to being done here,” said Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore. “We have three more wins to go and we’re only focused on Game 2.”
Golden Knights forward William Carrier added, “We’ve learned. Every year we learn different stuff. All the boys who were here that first year, we know it’s not over with the first game. You’re not winning it right off the bat. You have to keep pushing.”
The Golden Knights have been here before. They have been in the Stanley Cup Final and they have been three wins away from winning it all. On Monday, they can take a 2-0 series lead and be two wins away for the first time in franchise history as they look to continue to add to their growing list of firsts this week that they hope will culminate in the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup.