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How Other Expansion Teams Were Doing Through Seven Games

Putting Vegas' early hot start in perspective

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

6-1-0.

Three straight overtime wins, wins by three different goalies and a goal differential of +6.

It's no secret by now that Vegas is off to the best start by an expansion team in NHL history.

For context, here are how the nine other post-1990 expansion teams were doing through their first seven games. Perhaps more than anything, this shows how truly impressive the Golden Knights have been.

Video: Condensed Game: Blues @ Golden Knights

 

1991-92 San Jose Sharks

Record Through Seven Games: 1-6-0

Goals Scored: 24

Goals Against: 38

The San Jose Sharks stumbled out of the gates in 1991-92, losing their first two games, before defeating the Calgary Flames in game three, with a goal by current Golden Knights scout Kelly Kisio. San Jose, however, followed that one win by losing their next 13 games, en route to a 17-58-5 record.

 

Video: STL@VGK: Karlsson scores off Smith's pass in OT

 

1992-93 Ottawa Senators

Record Through Seven Games: 1-6-0

Goals Scored: 16

Goals Against: 37


The Ottawa Senators started their first season with a bang, defeating the eventual Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens by a score of 5-3 in their first game. The good times didn't continue. Ottawa didn't win once -although managed a single tie- in its next 21 games, not getting its second win until the end of November.

 

Video: Perron lifts Knights with game-winner in OT

 

1992-93 Tampa Bay Lightning

Record Through Seven Games: 3-3-1

Goals Scored: 27

Goals Against: 21


The Lightning got off to one of the better starts by an expansion team, rocking the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 7-3 in their first game and starting their first season 3-3-1. Tampa Bay continued to tread water until mid-November, when it lost 11 out of 12 games and was sent into a downward spiral that saw the Lightning finish their first season a woeful 23-54-7.

 

Video: Neal scores twice in Golden Knights' home-opening win

 

1993-94: Mighty Ducks of Anaheim

Record Through Seven Games: 2-3-2

Goals Scored: 16

Goals Against: 23


For an era that saw tons of offense, the early Mighty Ducks were known for playing extremely low-scoring games, minus a 7-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in their debut. A 1-1 tie with the Boston Bruins and 2-2 tie with the Calgary Flames in their second week had the Mighty Ducks on decent footing, although they lost eight out of nine starting in their seventh games and plunged to the bottom of the standings. Anaheim later enjoyed three modest winning streaks of at least three games, and actually finished ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets in its first season.

 

Video: Subban gets first NHL win as Vegas beats Boston, 3-1

 

1993-94: Florida Panthers

Record Through Seven Games: 2-2-3

Goals Scored: 20

Goals Against: 20

At 33-34-7, the Florida Panthers finished their first season better than any post-1990 expansion team. A lot of this success was due to this team's utilization of the neutral zone trap, keeping games close and forcing five of their first 12 contests to overtime. Other than a stretch in late February when the Panthers lost five straight games, Florida never lost more than three straight in its first season, staying in the thick of the playoff race until the last week of the season.

 

Video: Neal, Schmidt lead Golden Knights past Coyotes in OT

 

1998-99: Nashville Predators

Record Through Seven Games: 1-5-1

Goals Scored: 15

Goals Against: 22

The Nashville Predators seemed to always be just good enough to lose in their first season. The games were close, but Nashville usually ended up behind. Three one-goal losses and another two-goal loss had the team reeling through the first seven games of the 1998-99 season.

 

Video: BUF@VGK: Perron beats Johnson for game-winner in OT

 

1999-00: Atlanta Thrashers

Record Through Seven Games: 1-3-2-1

Goals Scored: 16

Goals Against: 27

The Thrashers won only 14 games in their first season, and just once in their first seven. Their one early win, however, was a shutout against the New York Islanders, with Damian Rhodes making 20 saves.

 

Video: VGK@ARI: Neal nets game-winning goal in overtime

 

2000-01: Minnesota Wild

Record Through Seven Games: 1-5-1-0

Goals Scored: 15

Goals Against: 25

The Wild were one of the quicker success stories in NHL history, reaching the Western Conference Finals in their third season. Other than a 6-5 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in their fifth game, Minnesota didn't win a single other time in its first seven games, though.

 

2000-01 Columbus Blue Jackets

Record Through Seven Games: 1-6-0-0

Goals Scored: 12

Goals Against: 24

Kevyn Adams scored two goals to lead the Blue Jackets to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames in Columbus' third game. Other than that, as then assistant coach Gerard Gallant could attest, it was a dismal start for the Blue Jackets, who won only one of their first nine games, and then lost eight in a row in November.

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