We’ve been told that the Golden Knights aren’t a particularly physical team. Coach Gerard Gallant probably never expected the game to go the way it did (big hits, 46 shots faced, 0/7 PP) and still leave with a 2–1 victory.
I thought the first period was physical. There was some big hits. You expect that in the first game, everybody is excited to play. I thought in the first period, there were some star players that were hitting guys more so than the third or fourth line players. Some of the big guys were banging bodies and it settled down a bit. I thought it was a great hockey team. -Gerard Gallant
Early in the game, the Stars were flying around, landing heavy hits on the visiting Golden Knights. Dallas forward Alexander Radulov, and defenseman Marc Methot (remember him?) delivered multiple crushing hits in the first period. After twenty minutes, Dallas had the edge in hits 11 to 6. By the second period, Golden Knights players seemed to have had enough and stepped up physically. By the end of the game, the style Dallas started the game off with had faded. Along with their lead.
No this was normal. Anytime you play this team, that’s the way it is. They’re a physical team. The west is tough. It’s like that with LA, Anaheim, Dallas, Winnipeg. These are all heavy teams. – James Neal
Neal took a few hits, and gave a few himself. Sure the sniper played rough, but his impact offensively is what neutralized the Stars physicality. The Golden Knights weren’t intimated by anything Methot, Radulov and that secousse Antoine Roussel handed out. In fact, Dallas’ overly-aggressive play put them in the penalty box for almost 20 minutes. Coach’s call that, a momentum killer.
I think there were a lot of emotions, and excitement for the first game of the season. It was pretty physical. You can expect that when both teams have bigger defenseman, and forwards that like to get on the forecheck. We responded really well. -Reilly Smith
When asked if the team will be ready for the quick turnaround for game two, Smith smiled and said he’s not worried about Saturday night’s back to back game.
Luckily, it’s just the start of the season. It should be fine right now. When we get to the dog days of the season, I think those back-to-backs will be more taxing. But, I don’t think it’s an excuse for tomorrow night. -Smith
I mean let’s be serious, these guys are men. Taking cheap shots from Roussel, post-game workouts, and late-night flights are what men/hockey players do. Luckily, I’m not a man and I won’t be taking any Methot shoulders to my face.