Both Neal and Fleury are among the top five players in their respective roles to start out the year, and their explosive beginnings to the new season are the driving force behind Vegas' strong opening. T-Mobile Arena was as loud as any venue I've been in during more than four decades of going to sporting events in Las Vegas.
Nobody's mind was entirely on hockey during what should have been a celebratory night and a milestone for Las Vegas, which finally has its first franchise in the major North American pro sports.
D Deryk Engelland, a Las Vegas resident for the past 15 years, scored in the Golden Knights' home opener Tuesday, a 5-2 win over Arizona.
It's great to see a sports team reach out with not only money but their time and energy to try to help people who suffered a bad tragedy.
After a video, the team introduced alongside first responders and those who ran into harms way to help others, in many cases, total strangers. the ceremonial puck-drop?-- flanked by survivors of the shooting. then- 58 seconds of silence to honor the 58 victims who lost their lives, and during that, their names illuminating on the ice-- through that 58 seconds. not a single sound. not one drunk guy screaming for attention, not one audible conversation between distracted patrons. just silence. Before the game, the team's general manager, George McPhee, explained to the Las Vegas Sun.
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There will be sadness as well, as the team and the league pay tribute to the 58 victims and the close to 500 wounded from the October 1 mass shooting on the Strip.
That may provide a little extra energy as the Knights look to sweep the home-and-home series with the Arizona Coyotes after they defeated them 2-1 in overtime Saturday at Gila River Arena. Engelland had the crowd standing well before the game started.
Neal said Friday night he had tickets to last Sunday night's concert in Las Vegas, at which 58 people were killed and almost 500 injured, but decided not to attend. This is the best start ever from an National Hockey League expansion team. "Obviously, the city is still healing from the tragedy, and as players we're aware of that". I saw real appreciation as I watched, and I think that human side of players stretches far beyond tragedy. I'll take (goals) when I can get them.
Engelland doesn't score many of them.