The Vegas Golden Knights earned the all-important split on the road against the San Jose Sharks as they opened the first round series with one win apiece at SAP Center.
The Golden Knights went 7-3 on home ice during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and posted a 24-12-5 record at T-Mobile Arena in the 2018-19 regular season. Vegas' home crowd brings a unique energy that goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said the team feeds off when they're on the ice.
"It's the best arena to play in, especially during the playoffs," Fleury said. "We're looking forward to getting the game going."
While the energy from the crowd will be comparable to last year's postseason, defenseman Nate Schmidt said this year's team has a slightly different vibe than last year's squad that reached the Stanley Cup Final.
"It's a different feeling than last year," Schmidt said. "We all believe in each other, but I think it's a different mentality this year. We had a good team last year, but we weren't really sure what we were. We were out there having fun. We know we have a good team again this year, but we have a little bit more pressure that we want to live up to."
An issue that the Golden Knights want to correct in Game 3 is the amount of penalties they've committed through two games. San Jose has been handed 13 power-play opportunities and has converted twice. Vegas' penalty kill has been effective, but forward Tomas Nosek said the team would prefer to play at 5-on-5 more often than it has.
"We can't go into a game expecting to kill penalties to get us going," Nosek said. "It's definitely good to kill off penalties especially when you score some shorthanded goals, but it's much better to just stay out of the box."
The Golden Knights can carry the confidence of their Game 2 victory into T-Mobile Arena as they entertain their home fans Sunday night, but Fleury doesn't think they should be riding too high until they've won the four games necessary to move on.
"We have the same mentality after a win as we do after a loss," Fleury said. "We want to rest, recover and get ready for the next one. You have to put that last one behind you and move on."