There was a great deal of excitement Sunday afternoon at the Capital One Arena. The new kids in the league, the Vegas Golden Knights, were playing their first game in DC against the Washington Capitals.
And Nate Schmidt was “home.” Warm ups were full of cheers for him as he landed on Caps home ice. Signs welcoming him wrapped the rink. Fellow player James Neal seemed to be a bit confused by the excitement for Nate
The Knights have come to rely on Nate too. He led the team in on-ice time at 2232 minutes. He would also garner an assist on the Ryan Carpenter goal.
So how did the rest of the day go?
Chandler Stephenson got on the board fist, assisted by Jay Beagle and Matt Niskanen. The Knights answered with the Carpenter goal, ending the first tied 1-1.
Each team added a goal in the second; first Nisky (Kuznetsov and Orlov assist) and then Reilly Smith, ending 2-2 before the intermission.
The third period was lively as Nick Backstrom got on the board with a beauty of a wrist shot fed from Djoos and Burakovsky. But the Knights would come back with a second goal by Smith followed by the GWG by Alex Tuch. Final score: 4-3 to the guys in Gold.
In the nets for the game were Marc-Andre Fleury and Philipp Grubauer. Flower has never been a friend of the Caps and tonight was no different. We did; however, really love his mask! And while he didn’t play, we could see that Malcolm Subban has quite the career ahead of him (11 wins in his 16 games with Vegas).
The arena was more alive then we have seen in a while. We can understand how Gerard Gallant is likely to be named coach of the year for what he had accomplished with this new team.
The Caps also kicked off Hockey is For Everyone with an on-ice scrimmage by the American Special Hockey Association.