While the Vegas Golden Knights continue to make history as the National Hockey League enters its second century, there is no question that the Montreal Canadiens dominated the league’s first 100 seasons.
Twenty-five championships, including 23 Stanley Cups, with nearly one-third of the members in the Hockey Hall of Fame at one-time skating for the Canadiens. That was then. This is now.
The Golden Knights reclaimed first overall in the NHL, and kept Montreal at a mere eight total victories on the road all season, while equally the NHL mark for home-ice wins by an expansion club in whipping Les Habitants, 6-3, Saturday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena.
Scoring three goals in the opening 10 minutes to chase Montreal starting goaltender Antti Niemi, Vegas, with its 22nd home win, equaled the mark of the 1979-90 Hartford Whalers.
Reilly Smith had two goals and an assist, and Jonathan Marchessault had three assists for the Golden Knights, who needed 28 games to match the Whalers (now the Carolina Hurricanes).
Ryan Carpenter and Nate Schmidt each had a goal and an assist for Vegas (39-15-4), which leads the NHL with 82 points, one better than the Tampa Bay Lightning, which lost at home to New Jersey, 4-3.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves for career victory No. 394.
With the trade deadline approaching next week, speculation about finding another good faceoff man seems moot. Three of the Knights’ goals came off draws won in the offensive zone.
The Knights (39-15-4) are now 3-1 on their current 7-game home stand., which finish with Pacific Division rivals Anaheim (Monday), Calgary (Wednesday) and Vancouver (Friday). before going on their final East Coast swing of the season.
Knights Knotes – VGK went off at -250, the highest line (as a favorite or an underdog) in their brief history. At -200 or higher, they are now 4-3 this season, yet have won three straight in this category.