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Max Pacioretty Delivers On Son’s Demand In First Home Playoff Game

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Max Pacioretty was a Golden Knights fan long before he ever became a Golden Knight. The reason for that is his sons, Lorenzo and Maximus fell in love with the team in the playoffs last year.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When Pacioretty told his sons he was traded to Vegas, they wanted to know which logo the Golden Knights were on their NHL bed sheets. Unfortunately, because the sheets were a few years old, there was no Golden Knights logo. Luckily, Max had a backup plan because he knew his boys would remember the pregame shows they watched together last year in the playoffs.

So I’m like, “Vegas! Here — come on, you remember these guys, right? From the playoffs last year? That cool team in black and gold? They made the Cup Fi—”

And right in that snap second, I see their eyes just light up. I know I don’t even have to finish the sentence. The boys, not only do they remember Vegas from the playoffs last year……. they loved Vegas in the playoffs last year.

So now they’re jacked.

Now they’re parading around the house, you know, chanting and hollering, “WE’RE GOING TO VEGAS, WE’RE GOING TO VEGAS.” -Max Pacioretty, Player’s Tribune

(By the way, if you haven’t read that Player’s Tribune article, stop reading this right now and go read that. It’s better than this one, I’m not even going to lie. I would appreciate it if you come back though.)

So there’s no question Pacioretty has been thinking of Sunday night’s game for a while. His first playoff game as a member of the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. It was always going to be special, and it was always going to be a memory he’d share with his kids.

As soon as my kids woke up at 6:30 in the morning they thought it was time to go to the game. For my family, it’s the best time of the year. -Pacioretty

Then, one of his sons made a request, one he’s never done to his NHL superstar father before.

First time in my career my son asked me to score a goal tonight and I was able to do so. In this rink, I’m sure he had a ton of fun. -Pacioretty

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

That’s a lot of pressure.

About eight minutes into the 1st period and just a few seconds into Evander Kane’s 4-minute high stick penalty, dad got it done. He took a pass from Shea Theodore, walked in towards the goal and sent a laser of a shot past Martin Jones.

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Season Ticket Holder Boxes: It Really Is The Water From T-Mobile Arena

Last night the Golden Knights held the annual “Season Ticket Holder Event” in which more than 4,000 season ticket members showed up to Mandalay Bay to paint VGK logos on canvases provided by Pinot’s Palette.

While the fans were painting, the entire Golden Knights roster showed up to sign autographs, take pictures, and chat with the thousands in attendance. It was as unique as a “hockey” event can possibly be.

When the event ended season ticket holders were given their 2018-19 member box. (Pictures at the end of the article) It’s become a tradition the team intends on continuing for at least the first five years. In that box was a tiny glass vial filled with the water that made the ice at T-Mobile Arena last season.

Like anyone, I saw the vial and had questions, is it really the actual water and if so, what are the logistics of making this happen? So, like any good blogger professional writer I found the answer, and yes, it really is the water.

We needed something different. Brian Killingsworth (Chief Marketing Officer) brought it up and we’re like, well that’s interesting, is that even physically possible? I said, if we can’t do the real thing, it would be foolish. So, the end of the season we worked with Salami (Ice Man), and once the ice melted we had buckets down at T-Mobile Arena. Then, we had to ship those buckets by ground to Arkansas. Our group out there had the vials already and they filled them. We only did 6,000 of them. There’s still some water left, but it is absolutely the real water from the ice. -Todd Pollock, Director of Ticketing

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First Time At T-Mobile Not Kind To Opponents

It’s a story that’s been somewhat beaten to death over the course of the season, but with the Golden Knights having home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final the impact of T-Mobile Arena will play a role in the series.

The Golden Knights finished the regular season with a record of 29-10-2 at home and have built on that with a home record of 6-1 in the playoffs.

The numbers get even more staggering when you look at team’s first visit to T-Mobile Arena in the regular season and playoffs. In the regular season teams who made their first trip to Vegas were 7-21-2. In the playoffs, they are 0-3. The Kings, Sharks, and Jets were all losers in both their first trip in the regular season and postseason.

Plus, in each of the three playoff games, the Golden Knights scored within the first five minutes of the game. 3:23 in against Los Angeles in Game 1 Round 1, 4:31 in against San Jose in Game 1 of Round 2, and 0:35 in against Winnipeg in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

The question is, why?

First off, the Vegas Golden Knights are a really good hockey team. Beating good teams on the road is challenging for anyone, let alone having to do it against a team that is equal to or better than you.

Next, Vegas Flu. We can act like it didn’t exist in the regular season, but there’s pretty clear evidence to the contrary. Multiple teams claimed to have hosted their “rookie dinner” in Vegas, a few teams completely changed travel plans in order to avoid it, and there are countless anecdotes of NHL players being seen at the tables, clubs, and bars on the Strip.

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T-Mobile Arena Obligations Likely Indicate Dates Of VGK Playoff Games 1 & 2

See you on the 11th and 13th! (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Now that they’ve got the little “x” next to their name and have clinched not only a playoff berth but also home-ice advantage in the first round we can start talking about home playoff games at T-Mobile Arena.

The NHL calendar declares this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin on April 11th, but there’s never a guarantee when each team that’s qualified will play their first game.

However, if you check out the calendar for T-Mobile Arena, the home of the Golden Knights, you’ll notice, the NHL is painted into a corner. Sucks for them, great for us.

Justin Timberlake is set to perform on back-to-back nights at T-Mobile, meaning the building will be unavailable for hockey on April 14th and 15th. Once again, the NHL playoffs begin on April 11th.

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T-Mobile Truly On Another Level

It’s a story that’s been told a thousand times over; how the atmosphere at T-Mobile Arena for Golden Knights games surprises even veteran players in the NHL. Recently though the story has almost become worn out as the same comments, same examples, and same quotes from players, coaches, and fans are muttered after each and every game.

Alex Ovechkin to the rescue.

It’s not a regular rink. It’s kind of like an unbelievable show, you get excited. It’s like you’re in a nightclub. It’s like a party. Everybody dancing over there. It’s like, ‘Holy Jesus, are we in a hockey game or is this like a pool party out there?’ They’re very, very tough to play against. They jump in right away. They have tremendous skill and tremendous speed. When you’re not ready, you’re going to be in a tough position. -Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

The timing of the “Holy Jesus” quote was fortunate for me as it came just days before I was set to travel to Washington DC to experience the difference Ovechkin was talking about myself.

Haven’t seen anything quite like the castle anywhere else either. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Let’s start with the very first difference, specifically for fans. Getting to the T-Mobile  Arena and walking through The Park is unmatched. DC’s set up actually is pretty nice as a train station arrives right on the corner of the arena, there’s a lobby where people were held before the gates open to escape the rain, and there’s a full sports bar attached to the arena itself. It’s nice, but it’s not Vegas.

Then you go into the arena. The first time at a hockey game where the in-arena experience really begins is with the player warm-ups. In Vegas, they count it down, demand the fans get up and cheer, then play John Wick Mode followed by a club-style music mix that’s so loud it’s challenging to talk to the person in the seat directly beside you. Contrast that to Capital One Arena, where the lights are darkened, a minor light show occurs, the players take the ice and the music is softer than I listen to in my car. The same was the case in Anaheim and Dallas. Los Angeles may have actually outdone Vegas with this light show.

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Winnipeg Jets Complimentary Of Golden Knights And T-Mobile Arena

These people are why Vegas is so good at home. These exact people. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Winnipeg Jets came into Las Vegas having earned a point in each of their previous eight games. That stretch ended abruptly when they faced a team on a streak of their own. After last night’s 5-2 Golden Knights victory, Vegas has now won six straight games at T-Mobile Arena, something the Jets were aware of coming in.

They were everything that we expected. Our preparation before the game showed that hockey team. You know I said how once you get out there, we just couldn’t get out of our zone. –Blake Wheeler, Jets Captain

The Captain didn’t seem upset or frustrated, if anything, he was more impressed with the team he faced.

I think just the way they play, their forecheck is really tough to break. They are great at getting above the puck. There just wasn’t a whole lot of space to make plays. You have got to give them a lot of credit, we made a lot of mistakes that cost us, gave them a little bit too much space. They really capitalize on their looks and you have to give them credit. They played a good hockey game tonight. -Wheeler

Wheeler expected a strong effort from Vegas but wasn’t stunned by the loss. Looking forward, expect Winnipeg to be even more prepared for the Golden Knights.

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Golden Knights Believe Winning At Home Has A Lot To Do With The Crowd

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

You guys watched the game tonight, look at the fans, they are awesome. It’s going to turn into like last year’s playoffs in Nashville, those fans were crazy and we have the potential to be just as good if not better. -Alex Tuch

High praise, but for a team that’s now 6-1 in a building they’ve called home for less than three weeks, it’s probably warranted.

Home-ice advantage isn’t something every team in the NHL has. In fact, every year about six to 10 teams have a losing record at home. With the Golden Knights spending most of their time at their posh new practice facility in Summerlin, it was almost to be expected that it would take a bit of time for things to feel like home at T-Mobile Arena. Throw in the masses of fans who were coming from Detroit, Buffalo, St. Louis, and Chicago and a case could have been made that the Golden Knights would never have felt at home. Through one homestand, that couldn’t be further from the case.

Obviously, we have a great supporting cast here and every night’s been great, the atmosphere is great. The fans are very supportive, and yeah it helps it’s kind of that extra man on the ice. -Erik Haula

When you score a goal and the crowd jumps in or if you get scored on and the crowd tries to pick you back up with a “Go Knights Go” chant, it helps a lot. -Tuch

It might be the “Vegas Flu” opposing teams are catching (we’ve got an article coming on that too) but even if that’s the case, Golden Knights fans have made an impact on their new team, and the team has responded.

Everything about the energy from the crowd, from the way we’ve been responding to that energy too. -David Perron

I hear a lot of cheering. It’s nonstop. The atmosphere is like a playoff game. I was fortunate enough to be the assistant coach in Montreal for a couple of years when we were in the playoffs. Every game here seems like a playoff game. The atmosphere is unbelievable for our team. -Gerard Gallant

There were a lot of reasons many believe Vegas would be good at home, but not many of them involved a rabid hockey-crazed fan base that can’t get enough. Las Vegas has that, and pretty much every person reading this has been a part of it. Pat yourself on the backs people, part of this start is because of you.

Golden Knights Home Opener At T-Mobile Arena – October 10th, 2017

This post will be updated throughout the day as we cover what is sure to be one of the most historic nights in professional sports history. The Vegas Golden Knights will play the Arizona Coyotes in front of a sold-out crowd at T-Mobile Arena. Prior to the game the organization will honor the victims, families, and first responders of last weekend’s tragedy before playing the first major professional sports game as the home team for Las Vegas.

We will be covering everything that goes on throughout the day including the Gold Carpet, the March to the Arena, the pre-game ceremonies, the game, postgame interviews, and then head over to Bailiwick at The Orleans for the official SinBin.vegas after party.

Click through and continue to reload for pictures, videos, quotes, tweets, and so much more from this unbelievable night.

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Expansion Team, Not Expansion Crowd

Early in the third period with the score is tied, the Golden Knights quickly reset the play after the puck was dumped out of the zone. They caught the Kings on a line change and the puck sat right in front of the Los Angeles bench. Players were jumping on and off the ice and a King going off touched the puck as he attempted to get off the ice. It was a rather clear “too many men” penalty, but it went uncalled.

It’s a preseason game, and the play was completely unaffected, but the T-Mobile Arena crowd was not ready to let it go unnoticed, and while they were screaming at the refs, they were also sending a message to the hockey world, this may be a new team to hockey, but these are not new fans.

Multiple Oscar-worthy performances from this guy last night. Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Throughout the entire game, there were noticeable cheers or groans at points of a hockey game where only diehard hockey fans would know to cheer. I’m talking moments like a questionable hybrid icing call, an excellent keep in the zone right on top of the blue line, a pass through the slot that was just too late, or a 2017 preseason slash that had T-Mobile Arena screaming curse words before the ref made the announcement.

There were 17,101 fans announced at the first preseason home game in Golden Knights history, and while the expectation was for a slightly baffled crowd waiting for moments like goals, fights, and big hits, the Vegas crowd delivered just the opposite.

The city’s buzzing for the team right now, and it’s a lot of fun to be here, but you never expect to have a sold-out crowd for the preseason and it was pretty close to that tonight. We fed off the energy and that’s what we’re gonna need all year. -Calvin Pickard

Look! Real hockey fans. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It was a hockey crowd and an educated one at that. Hockey is an easy game to understand on the surface, but with the speed of play and the nuances in the rules, it takes some time to really understand how to cheer for a game. In many past expansion arena, they would explain rules, make ridiculous announcements, and really go above and beyond to “teach the game.” None of that nonsense was necessary at T-Mobile Arena last night.

It’s only one game, and a preseason game at that, but if last night was any indication, Vegas already knows the game.

Vegas Golden Knights Vs. Los Angeles Kings Preseason Photo Gallery

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