In the midst of the NHL's pause, the Vegas Golden Knights broadcast team has had some time to reflect on some of the best moments since they each started with the organization. Each member of the group recalls different games, moments, conversations and memories that have made their own experience with the club so unique. Put yourself in their shoes as the VGK broadcast team shares some of their top moments from the rink, the road and the airwaves.
Shane Hnidy: My favorite game specific moment was the Ryan Reaves goal to win game five of the Western Conference Final. Not only the goal but the accomplishment of this team termed the "Golden Misfits" achieving something no other inaugural professional sports team had done before. Having played and broadcasted for 18 years in the NHL, to see a team overcome all the odds and reach the Stanley Cup Final was extraordinary! A feat I believe we will never see again from a first year team.
Dave Goucher: It's hard to pick just one… but the first one that comes to mind is actually the pregame ceremony before the home opener. The emotion of paying tribute to the events of Oct. 1, first responders, survivors and those we lost. Deryk Engelland's speech hit all the right notes. For an actual game, William Karlsson's between-the-legs shorthanded goal to clinch the Pacific Division against San Jose in Year 1. The guts to try it shorthanded and be successful in the third period of a tie game to win the division, just great stuff.
Stormy Buonantony: I have a number of great memories as a fan during the inaugural year and season two, but since I began covering the team, one game-specific moment really stands out: Max Pacioretty's game-tying goal in Nashville with 0.3 seconds left in regulation. My perspective was a little different than most. Part of my game routine is to head back to the locker room hallway at the under-4:00 timeout to be in position for postgame interviews. At this point, I've left thousands of screaming fans to stand alone against a cinderblock wall, watching the final moments of the game on a 12" monitor that sits on the ground and I'm fully prepared with a losing line of questioning. Patches scores, and even in my empty/silent hallway the disbelief of the home crowd and the momentum forming for the VGK could be felt. I had wild goosebumps all over and I've never been happier to flip the script after Vegas closed out the OT win.
Gary Lawless: Game 1 in Dallas and James Neal's winner. The city was in mourning following the October 1 shooting and this game and goal were key moments in the Golden Knights helping the city heal. It was also the start of a glorious run on the ice which would eventually lead all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
Dan D'Uva: The 2018 Stanley Cup Final, Game 1 at T-Mobile Arena. Not only special for its place in history, but this was a tight game with lead changes and a thrilling finish. It was tied 2-2 after one, 3-3 after two, and Washington took a 4-3 lead early in the third. Ryan Reaves tied it and Tomas Nosek put Vegas in the lead, 5-4, with 10 minutes to play. I had seen Nosek score two goals in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Final almost exactly a year earlier. He was the No. 1 star in that game for the eventual champion Grand Rapids Griffins. On this night in Vegas, Nosek repeated the effort. After making a great defensive play in the final minute he scored into an empty-net for his first career two-goal game in the NHL. And he was selected, you guessed it, the No. 1 star in the first Stanley Cup Final game in Vegas history.
Mike McKenna: I'm a sucker for storylines, and Mark Stone's return to Ottawa on January 16 was a big one. He spent 9 years in the Senators organization and when the 2018-19 season began, Stone was their cornerstone player. For NHL stars, going back to their former home arena is an emotional ordeal, especially knowing a video tribute will be played during a break from the action. Some handle it better than others. But Mark's return to Ottawa had even more significance: the Golden Knights had just lost four games in a row and Pete DeBoer was hired a day before. The Golden Knights badly needed a win and a strong performance from their best players. What did Mark do? He started the game off with an assist on Paul Stastny's goal, then himself scored late in the second period with #ExpressiveMarkStone on full display. The Golden Knights won 4-2 and Stone was named first star of the game.
Daren Millard: Mark Stone is one of the top players in the NHL. He scores, he creates chances, and the guy can steal the puck from the most cautious opponents. He is a potpourri of hockey skills. Stone is the type of player who will impress the first time you see him play, but watch him five games in a row, and he wows you. It's been like that since Stone was a kid. In early February, Stone changed things up. In a mid-week stop in south Florida, the second-year Golden Knight forward equaled a career-high 5-point night. Mark jumped on a loose puck at his own goal line and proceeded to go coast-to-coast, before lighting up a two-time Vezina Trophy winner for his 20th of the season. What the rush lacked in Connor McDavid-like speed was made up for by mesmerizing stickhandling and a shot that allowed the entire play to sing. Feet, hands and finish. The goal had it all. It was the kind of play that makes you look around the room in disbelief as if to say "Did that happen?" As I write this, I have watched the play ten more times. Brilliant Mark, bravo.