“Attached are some pictures of our most magical game last night. The seats were awesome! Again, thank you for your help in making this all possible. The fun memories of my first live hockey game will last forever.” – Linda K. Hiltbrand, the giveaway winner.
It was a highly anticipated matchup between two Stanley Cup contenders. The first place, Calgary Flames, came to town to face off against the Golden Knights in a late-season Pacific Division battle.
“They’re one of the best in the league, and those are big challenges for us. I thought we raised to it, we’ve been playing good hockey lately and that was just another example of beating a good team here and those games are fun. They’re close and intense and fun to win.” – Marc Andre Fleury, VGK Goalie
Vegas was awarded two early Power Play opportunities and the Golden Knights took advantage of an early break. Shea Theodore gave Vegas the 1-0 lead off a rebound for his 11th goal of the season. The Golden Knights brought great pressuring forcing goaltender David Rittich to misplay a puck allowing Theodore to wrist it in the top corner of the net.
“I think we’re just quick to pucks. We’re not giving them as much time and space in the corners. Usually when you give teams with good, skilled players time and space down low they’re going to make good plays. I mean I think our centers have been doing a good job coming in and killing those plays and that’s big for us.” – Shea Theodore, VGK Defenseman
Calgary thought they had tied the game late in the opening period but it was deemed to be goalie interference. Calgary coach Bill Peters was upset with the referee’s decision to overturn the tying goal.
“Toronto made the call, that’s their opinion on it, I’ve seen it go both ways and you never know. You go to the situation room to roll the dice and it didn’t go our way. Fleury sold it pretty good and that’s the reality.” – Bill Peters, CAL Coach
The second period was an exciting back and forth game with a lot of physicality. Both Calgary and Vegas landed big body checks and battled deep in the corners for possession. The Flames offense went to work midway through the period drawing a penalty, and scoring directly off the power play. They wore down the Golden Knights defense and tied the game 1-1.
The score would remain tied for a while, but the game was just heating up. Calgary forward Matthew Tkachuk continued to pester Marc-Andre Fleury which drew the attention of the entire Golden Knights’ team. Tkachuk mixed it up with multiple players, but violently got in Fleury’s face and was whistled for two minor penalties. The period came to a close but tempers were hot on the ice.
“Yeah, I mean you don’t like to see your goalie get bumped but it’s a minor part of the game. You know we got a power play from it; too bad we couldn’t score on that power play.“ – Gallant
The teams settled down in the third period as the game was locked in a 1-1 tie. Both goaltenders snuffed out any offensive rushes for the first nine minutes of the period. With 10:30 left to play, former Flame, Deryk Engelland, fluttered a puck past Rittich to give Vegas the 2-1 lead. It was Engelland’s second goal of the season, and it was a monster game-winner. The Golden Knights would go on to win 2-1.
“Awesome, especially because he played there before, and you know he doesn’t get to be the hero. I’m so happy for him that he got that one tonight. It was huge for him to get us the win and, that’s a guy who always works hard defensively and, it doesn’t always show on the stat sheet but to come from people defensively a big one, it’s nice to see.” – Fleury
Vegas star goalie Fleury made 33 saves for his 437th NHL win and is now tied for eighth on the all-time wins list. Vegas improves their record to (37-26-5) and remain in the Pacific Division’s third-place position, with 14 games left to play. With their 2-1 victory over Calgary, Vegas is (5-0) since trading for forward, Mark Stone. The team gets back on the ice Saturday when they travel to Vancouver. Opening faceoff starts at 7P.