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Golden Knights Release Best Moments Bracket

by Gordon Weigers @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

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The inaugural season of the Vegas Golden Knights was comprised of countless moments that will linger in the memories of Golden Knights fans for years to come.

Sixteen of the top moments from the 2017-18 season will go head-to-head as Golden Knights fans select the best moment of the season. In a bracket format, fans will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite moments from the past season and celebrate some of the high points of Vegas' first hockey season.

Broken up into the City National Arena Conference and T-Mobile Arena Conference, the bracket features marquee moments including Deryk Engelland's speech before the home opener, the Western Conference Final victory, Marc-Andre Fleury's return to Pittsburgh and more.

Each round of voting will last for 48 hours. Fans can cast their votes here.

City National Arena Conference

No. 1 Engelland's Speech vs. No. 8 First VGK Shutout By Dansk
Prior to the opening faceoff of the Vegas Golden Knights inaugural home opener, Deryk Engelland expressed his gratitude to the first responders of the October 1 tragedy. Engelland called Vegas home long before being selected by the Golden Knights in the 2017 Expansion Draft. His overarching message to the Vegas faithful: "We are Vegas Strong."

After Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban went down with injuries, Oscar Dansk stepped in and held down the fort for the Golden Knights. On Oct. 27, Dansk shone as Vegas topped Colorado 7-0 at T Mobile Arena. He made 32 saves to record the first shutout in Golden Knights history.

No. 2 Karlsson Between the Legs Goal vs. No. 7 NHL All-Stars
With 11:25 remaining in a 2-2 game against San Jose, William Karlsson poked the puck past Brent Burns at the blueline during a penalty kill. On a clear-cut breakaway, Karlsson skated in from the left side and held the puck in front of his body. When Martin Jones reached out with a poke-check, Karlsson put his stick between his legs and elevated the puck over a sprawled Jones and into the top left corner. The shorthanded goal stood as the game-winner and will long be remembered by Golden Knights fans.

The Golden Knights had three representatives at the 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa Bay in their inaugural season. James Neal, who was named an all-star for the third time in his career, scored two goals against the Central Division All-Stars. Marc-Andre Fleury, also a third-time all-star, made 14 consecutive saves during the Save Streak portion of the Skills Competition. The duo helped the Pacific Division All-Stars win the 3-on-3 tournament. Head coach Gerard Gallant was also selected to coach during the All-Star Game.

No. 3 Pacific Division Champions vs. No. 6 Haula's 2OT Goal
Thanks to Karlsson's show-stopping through-the-legs goal, the Golden Knights topped the Sharks, 3-2, and clinched the Pacific Division title in their first season in the NHL. With a record of 51-24-7 and 109 points, the Golden Knights became the first expansion team in any major sport to win its division in its very first season. They had an eight-point cushion over the second-place Anaheim Ducks at the end of the season.

After battling the Kings to a 1-1 tie through regulation, the Golden Knights embarked on their first playoff overtime journey in franchise history. The first overtime ended without a goal, triggering a second overtime period. At 15:23 of the second extra session, James Neal slid the puck to Erik Haula streaking down the right wing. Haula corralled the pass, drew a poke-check from Jonathan Quick, and tucked the puck underneath his right pad to win the game for Vegas.

No. 4 Playoff Series Sweep Over LAK vs. No. 5 Fleury 400th Win
Upon receiving a No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for winning the Pacific Division, the Golden Knights drew the wild-card Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs. The Kings, who won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014, entered as the more battle-tested team. But that didn't shake the Golden Knights who rattled off four straight one-goal victories to complete the sweep. Fleury shut the Kings out in game one and game four as Vegas became the first NHL team to win each of its first four playoff games in an inaugural season.

On March 12, Marc-Andre Fleury became the 13th goalie in NHL history to record 400 career wins as he led Vegas to a 3-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers. He made 38 saves in the victory, including a sensational point-blank save on Wayne Simmonds as the clock wound down. Fleury currently sits in 11th place in all-time wins as an NHL goalie.

T Mobile Arena Conference

No. 1 Western Conference Champions vs. No. 8 8-1 Season Start
On May 20, the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets, 2-1, in Game Five of the Western Conference Final to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. Deryk Engelland claimed the Clarence Campbell Bowl on behalf of the Golden Knights to signify the first conference championship in franchise history. Ryan Reaves netted the game-winning goal in the second period against his hometown Jets to propel the Golden Knights to the Western Conference title.

The Golden Knights won their first three games in franchise history before they finally dropped a game to the Detroit Red Wings. Following that loss, Vegas won five-straight games to improve to 8-1-0 in their first nine games in existence. That five-game win streak tied the record for consecutive wins by a first-year team and set the mark for the best start to an inaugural season in NHL history.

No. 2 First VGK Goal By Neal vs. No. 7 Fleury's Return To Pittsburgh
At 10:27 of the third period in the first game in Vegas Golden Knights history, James Neal recorded the first goal in team history. After a two-on-one bid for Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault was denied, Vegas drew a penalty and pulled Fleury for the extra skater before Dallas could touch the puck. Neal flew onto the ice, took a soft pass from Nate Schmidt, and ripped a wrist shot through traffic that got by Kari Lehtonen. Neal would score later in the game to seal Vegas's first ever victory.

On Feb. 6, Marc-Andre Fleury made his return to Pittsburgh for the first time as a visiting player. Fleury was drafted first overall by the Penguins in 2003 and won three Stanley Cups in 14 seasons in Pittsburgh before being taken by the Golden Knights in the 2017 Expansion Draft. The Penguins faithful welcomed Fleury back with open arms and gave a passionate "merci" to their former superstar goaltender.

No. 3 Theodore's TBL Game-Winner vs. No. 6 Karlsson's OT Goal
On Dec. 19, Shea Theodore showed his flair for the dramatic as he blasted home the game-winning goal with 2.3 seconds remaining to lead Vegas to a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Theodore recorded his fourth point of the night when he took a pass from Jonathan Marchessault in the slot and wired a buzzer-beating slapshot through Andrei Vasilevskiy's legs to seal the victory.

Coming off the first playoff loss in franchise history, the Golden Knights went to overtime for the second straight game against the San Jose Sharks in the second round of the playoffs. At 8:17 of the first overtime, James Neal set up William Karlsson to burst down the right wing with plenty of open space to work with. Before Brent Burns could get into position, Wild Bill snapped a wrist shot over the blocker of Martin Jones and under the cross bar to lift Vegas to victory in game three.

No. 4 Karlsson First VGK Hat Trick vs. No. 5 First Home Goal By Nosek
On Dec. 31, William Karlsson had a night for the ages as he registered the first hat trick in team history. Early in the first period, he cashed in on a Reilly Smith pass to put Vegas up, 2-0. Midway through the second period, he buried a Jonathan Marchessault net-front pass to make it 4-1 Vegas. With the goalie pulled, Karlsson completed the hat trick with a diving swipe at the puck during a foot-race with Morgan Reilly. He chipped the puck through the air and into the empty net to trigger the first shower of hats in Golden Knights history.

Following a touching pregame tribute to those affected by the October 1 tragedy, the Golden Knights brought the roof down in their first period of hockey at home. Tomas Nosek netted the first of four first period goals when he took a touch pass from Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on the left wing. He caught Oliver Ekman-Larsson flat-footed and snuck a shot under the glove of Antti Raanta and into the net to sound the goal horn for the first time at T Mobile Arena.

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