Las Vegas Sun

January 18, 2019

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Video analysis: A night of firsts for the Golden Knights


John Locher / AP

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Arizona Coyotes during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in Las Vegas.

Tuesday night was a night of firsts for the Golden Knights.

They scored the first goal in their brand-new arena, won their first game and became the first expansion team in NHL history to start 3-0 with their 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

But of all the future trivia answers the Golden Knights supplied Tuesday night, one seemed more important than the others.

Deryk Engelland, who has lived in Las Vegas for more than 13 years since playing with the Las Vegas Wranglers, gave a speech prior to the game that tugged on the heartstrings of the 18,191 in attendance and the millions watching on national TV.

He ended it with, “We are Vegas Strong,” and fans at the T-Mobile Arena waved their towels displaying the phrase above their heads.

If that wasn’t enough, Engelland followed it up with the first goal of his Golden Knights career just minutes later.

“That goal is special and it will probably go down as the biggest goal of my career,” Engelland said.

The defenseman threw his hands in the air in jubilation before being mobbed by every Golden Knight on the ice.

“I don’t score very often, so that’s all I got,” Engelland laughed. “I’m not a very flashy guy so that’s about all I’ve got for a (celebration).”

It was the second goal in a span of two minutes and gave the Golden Knights a 2-0 lead they would never relinquish.

“It was a perfect script for us,” Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant said. “It’s the way things should have went, and a lot of times it doesn’t go that way but tonight was a perfect night for our group.”

Engelland’s goal may have been the most sentimental of the night, but that of fourth-line forward Tomas Nosek will go down in history as the first-ever regular season goal scored at T-Mobile Arena.

Nosek’s goal came only 2:31 into the game.

“After the emotional ceremony it was a good start for us,” Nosek said. “I got a nice pass from (Pierre-Edouard) Bellemare and saw the defenseman coming. I decided to shoot to the far side and it went in.”

Then James Neal scored to end the Golden Knights' power play drought at 11.

“I thought we were good in the last couple games and just couldn’t get one to go in,” Neal said. “(Reilly) Smith made a great play right at the net front to get it back to me and it was nice to see it go in.”

The first power play goal in team history, it was Neal’s second of the game and his fifth of the season — good enough for second place in the entire NHL behind only Alex Ovechkin (7).

“When you’re feeling it you think you can score on every shot,” Neal said. “You want the puck in the right spots and give yourself a chance to score.”