Golden Knights move to within a game of posting most victories by first-year team
January 24, 2018 11:02 AM
by Nick Pellegrino
While the Vegas Golden Knights moved to within a game of posting the most victories by a first-year NHL club after Tuesday's 6-3 whipping of Columbus, Vegas coach Gerard Gallant is taking a more traditional path toward winning.
Gallant placed Brad Hunt into the lineup. A healthy scratch for half of the season, the defenseman out of Bemidji State responded with his first goal of the season to give Vegas its first lead in a dominate second-period performance.
"I take the positives and move forward," said Hunt, who received even more ice tie after Brayden McNabb was injured late in the second period, leaving the club with just five blue-liners. "We're all working together as a team and fill our role."
Hunt tallied with a blast from the blue line for Vegas' second power play goal of the game, coming against a Columbus side with the poorest road penalty-kill in the league.
"To see William play against his old team was something special," Hunt added.
Karlsson also had a short-handed breakaway in the first period, but was thwarted by Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. However, Karlsson registered his second goal on a beautiful pass by Shea Theodore for a 5-2 cushion.
"That'll be a highlight reel goal for a long time," noted Gallant. "You'll see itall over the sports networks for a few days. Shea lobbed a lead pass to Karlsson, who skated onto the puck for a break on goal.:
Gallant was also pleased with Hunt on his ability to fit right in despite sitting more nearly half of Vegas' contests this season.
"He just has to keep playing like he's playing," added the coach. "We have some D-men hurt, but Brad's been a part of our team all year long, playing a big part on the power play. He plays real solid – we're real happy with him."
And Hunt is less expensive than Nash, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Golden Knights next host the New York Islanders at 7 pm Thursday.
Knights Knotes: Vegas moved into third place for most wins by a first-year club, breaking a tie with Philadelphia and Los Angeles from the league's first expansion from 1967. When the club hosts the New York Islanders on Thursday, they could match the mark of 33 set by the Florida Panthers and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (both in 1993-94).