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Red Wings: 6, Golden Knights 3: 3 Takeaways

Detroit hands Vegas its first-ever loss

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Had to happen eventually, right?

The Golden Knights lost. It was fair, it was clean, it was legitimate.

The Detroit Red Wings rode four third-period goals to erase a 3-2 deficit and won 6-3.

It was the first loss in Golden Knights history.

Here are three immediate takeaways from Friday's game.

1. Couldn't shut the door

The Golden Knights trailed in the second period, 2-1. However, after James Neal and Erik Haula scored 1:27 apart, Vegas had a 3-2 lead and looked as if it was destined to dramatically win again.

 

Video: DET@VGK: Haula tips in shot for go-ahead goal

 

But in the third period, Vegas played probably its worst period of the season.

4:42 in, Anthony Mantha tied it. 2:21 later, after coming out of the penalty box, Frans Nielsen put the Red Wings ahead.

And then with 9:11 to play, Gustav Nyquist provided the insurance, assisted by Mantha, with Luke Glending adding another for good measure with 5:04 to play.

Detroit owned the puck during the final 20 minutes, got several chances and capitalized.

The Golden Knights were 2/3 of the way through but couldn't close the deal.

 

Video: DET@VGK: Marchessault buries Smith's nice feed

 

2. James Neal stayed hot

Throughout the Golden Knights' improbably three-game winning streak to start the season, it was James Neal providing most of the heroics.

Two goals in Dallas last Friday, including the game-winner. An overtime goal the following night in Arizona and two more tallies in Tuesday against the Coyotes.

 

Video: DET@VGK: Neal extends goal-scoring streak, ties game

 

Neal's goal in the second period, assisted by linemates David Perron and Cody Eakin, was wasted in that Vegas didn't get a point out of Friday's game.

Except for Neal, it moved him past Brandon Saad for second in the NHL in goals. Through the first week, only Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (9 goals) has more than Neal's six tallies.

 

3. Hats off to the Golden Knights

While Friday's loss is disappointing, it's also a good time to recognize what the Golden Knights accomplished the last week.

Not once in 50 years had an NHL expansion team started out by winning its first two games. Vegas won its first THREE games. In the NHL's 100-year history, no expansion team ever accomplished this.

In fact, the Golden Knights became one of only five expansion teams in any of the four major North American team sports to win its first three games.

 

Video: Fleury speaks following Vegas' 6-3 loss

 

MLB's Houston Colt .45's (now Astros) did it in 1962, as did the San Diego Padres in 1969. The NBA's Chicago Bulls also turned the trick in the 1960s, with all three of these clubs stopping at three straight wins before losing their first games.

Just like the Golden Knights.

The Denver Nuggets, who won their first eight games in the NBA, are the only first-year team to eclipse the Golden Knights.

Which although this team will want to get back in the win column when the Boston Bruins visit on Sunday afternoon, is an awfully impressive accomplishment.

And as the team moves forward, hopefully only the beginning of what's to come.

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