People of Las Vegas looking for a feel-good story in the aftermath of last weekend’s mass shooting may have found an unlikely one in their newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights.
The first-year NHL team has played two games, and won both, each time on a James Neal goal.
Neal’s goal at 3:46 of overtime Saturday night gave the Golden Knights a 2-1 victory at the Arizona Coyotes, one night after Neal scored both goals in a 2-1 victory in Dallas.
“Yesterday is one of the best feelings I’ve had in hockey,” Neal said of Friday’s performance. “We said we wanted to roll it up again today and get a big win and go home a happy team, and we did that.”
Neal, acquired in the expansion draft from the Nashville Predators, scored 3:36 into OT against the Coyotes after teammate Nate Schmidt had tied the game with 1:12 left in regulation and Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury pulled.
“He’s hot right now, and he was big for us tonight yet again,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We had a lot of shots, and we competed and battled hard, and we got rewarded at the end of it.”
Neal said Friday night he had tickets to last Sunday night’s concert in Las Vegas, at which 58 people were killed and nearly 500 injured, but decided not to attend.
Just as had been done in Dallas on Friday night, a moment of silence was observed before the opening faceoff in Arizona for the shooting victims and their families.
The Golden Knights next play Tuesday night, in what is expected to be a very emotional first home game at T-Mobile Arena.