The Las Vegas Golden Knights didn’t wait long to establish their name in the NHL and the professional sports world, making it to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season but falling to the Washington Capitals 4–3 on June 7 in game five.
The Golden Knights did the unthinkable — what no other expansion team has ever done in all of professional sports, not only making the playoffs but playing in the final.
In their first game against the Dallas Stars, the Knights won a close game 2–1, following the victory with another win on the road before their home opener at T-Mobile arena on the strip, dominating the Arizona Coyotes 5–2.
Vegas went 8-3 in the first month of the season and immediately showed the Pacific Conference and the rest of the NHL that they were the team to beat, winning the conference with 109 points, the second-place Anaheim Ducks eight points behind.
Vegas went 51-24-7 in their first season, good enough for third best in the Western Conference and the second seed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, drawing the Los Angeles Kings in the first round.
The Knights didn’t show any signs of Playoff jitters in the first round, sweeping the Kings in four games, each decided by just one goal.
Vegas drew the San Jose Sharks in the second round and started off strong, defeating the Sharks 7–0 in game one. The teams then split the next two games both with 4–3 finals in overtime.
The Sharks were able to tie the series at two apiece. When it seemed as if the Knights were in a battle to stay alive, they answered by taking the next two games, clinched a spot in the Western Conference Final against the Winnipeg Jets.
After the Jets jumped out to a 1-0 series lead, the Knights shut down the high-scoring Jets’ offense, taking the next four and achieving what no other expansion team has: making it to the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals.
In a high-scoring first game, the Knights started their cup run with a 1-0 series lead over Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.
Unfortunately for the Knights, that was their last win of their phenomenal season. The Capitals took the next four games, and Ovechkin and the Caps were able to lift their first Stanley Cup in team history.
With the team now in the offseason, the rest of the NHL knows the Vegas Golden Knights are contenders in the years to come, and with another expansion team in Seattle coming up, fans and players are questioning just how good they’ll really be.