Franchise Best: Vegas Golden Knights 2017-2018

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WINNIPEG, MB - MAY 20: Ryan Reaves #75 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates with teammates after scoring a second period goal against the Winnipeg Jets in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell MTS Place on May 20, 2018 in Winnipeg, Canada. (Photo by Jason Halstead/Getty Images)

The Franchise Best Series comes to you to dive into the all-time best single season for every organization. This, of course, includes the post-season results. Join us for a look back at some of the most memorable moments in each franchise’s history. Here is the Vegas Golden Knights 2017-18 Inaugural season. 

The Expansion Draft and Acquisitions

The 2017-2018 Vegas Golden Knights – the first and only iteration of the team – were put together by George McPhee who is the General Manager of the Vegas Golden Knights. One of his first orders of business was to find a head coach which he found in Gerard Gallant. Gallant spent two-plus years coaching the Florida Panthers before he was fired in November 2016. He ended up taking the Golden Knights all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals but lost to the Washington Capitals in five games. Gallant won the Jack Adams Award for the best head coach during the 2017-18 season.

The Golden Knights team was put together during the 2017 Expansion Draft. During the expansion draft, the Knights picked up some big names like Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal but it would be the smaller names like William Karlsson who would make the biggest impact. One signing that may have saved the Golden Knights season was the acquisition of goaltender Malcolm Subban. Subban who started the year as the backup started 19 games most of them while Fleury was out with a concussion. He went 13-4-2 in 19 starts this season with a 2.68 GAA and .910 SV%.

In-Season Story-Lines

One of the biggest storylines around Vegas was how everybody came together after the tragic shooting on October 1st, 2017. The shooting happened just a few days before the team’s home opener. On opening night the team honored the first responders who had helped save lives during the tragedy. Vegas also retired the number 58 honoring the number of lives lost during the event. In their first month, they went 10-1 on home ice and ended the year with a home record of 29-10-2 during the regular season. They were 34-5-2 when scoring first during the regular season.

The Vegas Golden Knights were made up of a bunch of players that teams didn’t mind letting go of. Every player who came to Vegas had something to prove. Over the course of the season, the group of castoffs came together and strived throughout the year. Out of all of the castoffs, the one that made the greatest impact was William Karlsson. When talking about castoffs was also about Gerard Gallant. Gallant was let go in November of 2016 by the Panthers and ended up being hired as the Golden Knights first head coach

The Vegas Golden Knights were led by William Karlsson who scored 43 goals and 35 assists for 78 points, Karlsson also led the Knights in Shorthanded goals with six. Jon Marchessault, Erik Haula, James Neal and Reilly Smith also recorded 20 goal seasons for the Knights. Haula led the Knights with 12 goals with the man advantage.

Vegas Golden Knights 2017-2018 Playoff Run

Round 1 vs Los Angeles Kings

The Vegas Golden Knights first-ever playoff opponent would be the Los Angeles Kings. In a series that Vegas would end up sweeping all four games were decided by one goal, including a double-overtime win in game two. Marc-Andre Fleury was a brick wall during the series recording shutouts in games one and four and allowing no more than two goals in games two and three.

Round 2 vs San Jose Sharks

After a 7-0 route of the San Jose Sharks in game one, It was looking like Vegas would be able to make easy work of the Sharks. That, however, would not be the case as the next two games would go to overtime. After losing in double overtime in game two the Knights would take game three in overtime. After getting shutout in Game four the Knights would come back to win the next two games in the series.

Round 3 vs Winnipeg Jets

After beating San Jose in six games the next opponent for the Golden Knights were the Western Conference Champions Winnipeg Jets. The Jets were Stanley Cup Favorites and were expected to have an easy time getting past Vegas. The Jets were able to take game one by a score of 4-2. The Golden Knights would go on to win the next four games to take the series. The Key to this series for Vegas was getting on the board early. In games, three and four Vegas would score within the first three minutes into the first period and would never look back.

Stanley Cup Finals vs Washington Capitals

Coming into the series both teams were expected to have great goaltending that wouldn’t be the case. With Vegas riding high off of four straight wins to eliminate the Winnipeg Jets they would take Game one in Vegas by a score of 6-4. The next four games, however, went in the way of The Capitals. They had outskated the Golden Knights throughout the series. Physicality was a big part of the Stanley Cup Finals which ended up hurting the Golden Knights. On the Powerplay was where the Capitals would make their killing, they were 31.5% on the Powerplay during the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

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