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Golden Knights Can Create Memories In Game 7

Vegas has opportunity for unforgettable win in San Jose

by Gary Lawless @GoldenKnights /

Game 7s are the greatest of opportunities in sport. They become the touchstone moments in a franchise's history. They bring glory, despair, joy and anxiety. Game 7s create heroes, myths, legends and villains. They are what a fanbase talks about for years to come. Rants on schoolyards and quiet chats on barstools will begin with: "Remember Game 7 against the Sharks?"

History is about to be written. The question is: Who will hold the pen? Will Marc-Andre Fleury be the author? Or will his masked counterpart Martin Jones write the finishing line to this saga? Maybe it's Joe Thornton who gets the last word. Perhaps it's Mark Stone telling the world Vegas is advancing.

Sunday night's Game 6 double overtime 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks was devastating for Golden Knights fans.

The defining chapter of this playoff series, however, is yet to come. And the people that make up the hockey community in Las Vegas, the players, the fans, the Golden Knights organization would be best to embrace the moment they are in right now.

There's no hiding from it. It's here. You're in it. It can paralyze or invigorate.

"There's no tomorrow after tomorrow," head coach Gerard Gallant said Monday morning. "This is a chance to advance to the next round. It's fun, it's pressure. It's a Game 7."

If your team makes the playoffs on a regular basis Game 7s are going to happen. Don't dread them. Relish them. Game 7s are a fact of life for a successful hockey town.

There's a rush of adrenaline and the senses are heightened. The good feels so great. Food tastes better and the beer goes down easy.

Someone, of course, has to lose. And for those fans, eating is impossible, breathing becomes labored and the bottoming out is like a first heartbreak. It's crushing.

Sunday's Game 6, from this perspective, provided the most nervous moments to date in the history of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Logan Couture's first period goal vacuumed the air out of T-Mobile Arena. The sails hung limp until Jonathan Marchessault's second period marker gusted into the building like an August wind barreling out of the desert full of heat and power.

Then, with the crowd in full throat and leaning into the game, Tomas Hertl fired a silencer past Fleury. The whoops of the celebrating Sharks could be heard above the patrons whispering their way out of the building.

The players looked glassy eyed and still stunned as the media filed into the dressing room. But by Monday morning, shock had been replaced by the realization of opportunity. The chance to experience a rare hockey moment. To compete in a best-of-one with a team moving on and the other sliding into offseason plans.

This will be the first group of Golden Knights ever to wade into a Game 7. And if ever a town was made for Game 7s it's Vegas. A place where letting it ride and going for broke aren't cute clichés but ways of life.

No moment is too big for Vegas where creating memories is why people get up in the morning and go to work.

Hockey has quickly become embedded in the local culture in Vegas. Las Vegans love the Golden Knights experience. And this Game 7 is part of the deal.

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