Golden Knights beat Kings for first playoff win

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When Shea Theodore scored the first playoff goal in Vegas Golden Knights history, it seemed like it would be the start of a wild Game 1.

Instead, the Golden Knights and Kings played the sort of clamped-down contest that you’d expect to be Los Angeles’ preference. Maybe it was, but Vegas didn’t blink at this “playoff style,” blanking the Kings 1-0 to win Game 1.

With that, they take a 1-0 series lead for their first-ever playoff win. They’re one for one when it comes to passing playoff tests.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 30 shots on goal while Jonathan Quick was perfect after that Theodore tally, making 27 out of 28 saves. This was a physical, nasty contest, with the Kings being credited with 69 hits versus 58 from the Golden Knights.

One hit, in particular, drew controversy. William Carrier clearly drew the Kings’ ire in delivering 10 hits himself, but Drew Doughty‘s check on Carrier might have gone over the line:

The Golden Knights showed that they can win a grinding playoff game against Quick, not to mention battle-tested veterans including Doughty and Anze Kopitar. You wonder, though, if such play would behoove Los Angeles if that style carries through during the remainder of this fascinating first-round series.

Ultimately, that’s a question for Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant to answer, but they didn’t ever seem out-classed.

In fact, the Kings have to feel a little bit discouraged that they didn’t prove much of push during this contest, especially considering the fact that Vegas was nursing that 1-0 lead since early in the first period.

The deeper you dive, the better the Golden Knights look. Take, for instance, this evidence of strong all-around play via Natural Stat Trick:

So far, so very, very good for the Golden Knights. Once again, they look beyond their years as an expansion team for the ages.

Now, the next test: how will Vegas handling a 1-0 series lead? Game 2 airs on NBCSN on Friday, so we won’t need to wait long to find out.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.