Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau
Published Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 | 2:14 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 | 3:48 p.m.
The NHL has announced its selections for the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28 in Tampa Bay, and three Vegas Golden Knights made the cut.
Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal were selected to play for the Pacific Division team.
"I didn't expect this because I haven't played too many games this year," Fleury said. "I'm excited because it's always a nice honor to be a part of. I just feel like there's so many great players around the league and they only pick a few. It's an honor to be a part of those guys. It's part of the excitement of the All-Star game."
Fleury has an impressive record of 9-2-1 and leads the NHL in save percentage (.945) and goals against average (1.73) amongst goalies with at least 12 starts. Neal has racked up 18 goals and 11 assists in the first half of the season with Vegas.
"I’m looking forward to representing our team in Tampa and share the All-Star experience with Marc-Andre and coach (Gerard) Gallant," Neal said. "Having three representatives from the Golden Knights is a great honor, there are a bunch of guys on our team who are having All-Star caliber seasons. Thanks to my teammates and coaches for their great play this season and Golden Knights fans for their unbelievable support."
Leading the team to the best record in the Pacific Division at 29-10-2, head coach Gerard Gallant earned the right to coach the all-star team.
Notably missing from the selections were Vegas players William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault.
Karlsson is tied for fifth in the NHL with 22 goals and has also pitched in 14 assists. The 25-year-old center is second on the team with 36 points, behind only Marchessault.
Marchessault leads the Golden Knights with 40 points (16 goals and 24 assists) and, along with Karlsson and Reilly Smith, has led the most productive line in the league.
Karlsson and Marchessault are both listed as possible injury replacements, so either could still end up in Tampa Bay if there are any injuries prior to the Jan. 28 event.
"This wouldn't be happening without the help of all of my teammates," Fleury said. "They've helped me look good throughout the season. I thank them for that. There could have been a lot of guys from this team that got to go, don't you think? We've got so many guys stepping up throughout the season... I wish the other guys could do this too and be a part of it. Too bad there's only a few of us going. We get to go because of all of the work that they've done this season."
The Golden Knights joined the Los Angeles Kings as the only teams to have multiple players selected for the Pacific Division’s all-star team.
Pacific Division selections:
Coach: Gerard Gallant (Vegas)
Forwards: Connor McDavid (Edmonton), Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), Brock Boeser (Vancouver), James Neal (Vegas), Rickard Rakell (Anaheim) and Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles)
Defensemen: Drew Doughty (Los Angeles), Brent Burns (San Jose) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Arizona)
Goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (Vegas) and Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles)