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.
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.