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Stanley Cup Final

Golden Knights' brightest playoff moment debated by NHL.com writers

Fleury, Reaves, Engelland in middle of Vegas' most prominent postseason highlights

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The Vegas Golden Knights have had an incredible run through the Stanley Cup Playoffs, becoming the first expansion team in any sport to advance to the championship in their inaugural season.

The Golden Knights will face the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Final, with Game 1 of the best-of-7 series at T-Mobile Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, CBC, TVAS).

Vegas has made many indelible memories through the first three rounds of the playoffs; they swept the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference First Round, ousted the San Jose Sharks in six games in the second round and defeated the Winnipeg Jets in five games in the conference final. 

 

[RELATED: Complete Golden Knights vs. Capitals series coverage | Stanley Cup Final schedule]

 

Everything along the way has been new and exciting, from the first goal, to the first overtime, to the first series win to the claiming of the first trophy in its history, the Clarence Campbell Bowl, after a 2-1 victory against the Jets in Game 5 of the conference final last Sunday. 

With the Golden Knights preparing for the unforgettable highs and lows of the Final, we wanted to know what their best playoff moment has been. So we asked the four NHL.com staff writers who have covered them the most this postseason. Here's what they had to say:

 

Tim Campbell, staff writer

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been most memorable in the playoffs, and his best moment mattered a lot in the Western Conference Final. Fleury came up with the series' turning point in the third period of Game 3 with two rapid-fire remarkable saves against Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele. Those saves helped keep the Jets at bay and turned what was a coin-flip series in the Golden Knights' favor. Vegas seized the moment and put its stamp on the series after that. And that third-period Fleury moment from Game 3 will be difficult to surpass.

Video: WPG@VGK, Gm3: Fleury stays tight to rob Scheifele

 

Shawn Roarke, Director of Editorial

There have been so many incredible highs for the Golden Knights during their unforgettable run to the Stanley Cup Final, but the goal that sent them to the Cup Final, by forward Ryan Reaves at 13:21 of the second period of Game 5 against the Jets, epitomized to me what this team is all about. Reaves, from Winnipeg, wasn't on Vegas' original roster; he was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 23. He couldn't find a regular lineup spot until an injury opened a door. Then, like so many Vegas players before him, he seized the opportunity. The joy on Reaves' face as he celebrated and silenced the Winnipeg Whiteout will stay with me for a long time. 

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm5: Reaves tips in point shot for lead

 

Lisa Dillman, staff writer

From the start, in October, it has been a revelation to watch a team pursue and go on to capture the heart of a community. Which is why my favorite memory of the Golden Knights' run to the Cup Final came at the watch party at Toshiba Plaza on Sunday. There was unbridled joy and elation when the Vegas won the Western Conference Final, but I was especially taken with the inclusive nature of the event. More than one fan told me the Golden Knights have been instrumental in bringing the city together with one saying: "Our city has every race. It's been huge for our community. People didn't think hockey would really take off here, and it really has."  

Video: Golden Knights' watch party celebrates WCF title

 

Nick Cotsonika, columnist

The best moment must be defenseman Deryk Engelland receiving the Clarence Campbell Bowl, because it symbolized more than Vegas winning the Western Conference. The Golden Knights don't have a captain, so they had to pick someone to represent them. They chose Engelland, who played 486 games in the minor league before establishing himself in the NHL, and has had his best season at age 36. He played in Las Vegas in the ECHL in 2003-04 and '04-05. He met his wife in Las Vegas. They had their children there and lived there in the offseason. When the Golden Knights held a ceremony before their home opener Oct. 10 in the wake of the mass shooting on the Strip on Oct. 1, Engelland gave a heartfelt speech to his city, the victims, their families and the first responders. A little more than seven months after he held a microphone in the wake of tragedy, he held a trophy in the wake of victory.

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm5: Engelland, Vegas awarded Campbell Bowl

 

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