The sports world moves fast, and even though the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals just ended on Thursday night in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena, already the NBA title, the French Open men's and women's titles and the Belmont Stakes with its Triple Crown winner have taken over the headlines. While the Vegas Golden Knights almost gave the National Hockey League a fairy tale storyline for the ages, we still want to take a look back at the Cup Finals for all the good things the Golden Knights did.
Remember, this was an expansion team that started off the season with low expectations and then watched its hometown people suffer unspeakable horror right before the first game of the regular season. The Vegas organization, roster, and staff accomplished so much with so many people supporting them, and we don't want to forget that.
So, despite dropping the championship series in five games to the Washington Capitals, here are the five best moments from the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals for the Golden Knights as we head into the (blissfully short) offseason. Enjoy!
5. Game 2 opening goal: The Golden Knights didn't know it at the time, but this was the last lead they would have until Game 5. Veteran James Neal, who was on the losing side in the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals, opened up the scoring with a wicked wrist shot that beat Washington goaltender Braden Holtby to his high left. It was a thing of beauty, even if the lead didn't last. Usually, when Vegas scored first in this postseason, the win followed, but this time it was not meant to be.
4. Marc-Andre Fleury's saves in Game 3 against Alex Ovechkin: Yes, Ovi ended up winning the Conn Smythe, but Fleury did everything he could to stop the 11-time All-Star wing from dominating the series. Barely a minute into Game 3, Fleury made this super save on an Ovechkin shot from close range, and then after Ovechkin scored early in the second period to put the Caps up 1-0, Fleury made another sweet stop on a wicked slap shot from the big Russian. Washington would win this battle and eventually the war, and while Fleury struggled through most of the series, these shining moments reminded every Golden Knights fan just how the team made it to the Cup Finals in the first place.
3. Game 5 go-ahead goal: Even though Vegas couldn't hold the lead in the third period, a big goal at the end of the second period that gave the Golden Knights the lead was electrifying. Reilly Smith was in the right place at the right time, and although he still had a Capitals skater draped all over him, Smith still managed to put the puck in the net with just 29 seconds left in the period. At the time, it felt it could be the goal to extend the Vegas season one more game while giving hope to the fans once again.
2. Game 1 pregame ceremonies: This was the moment that everyone will remember for a long time. Gladys Knight singing "God Bless America" and Carnell Johnson belting out the National Anthem, as well as the theatrics, once again thrilled both those in attendance and those watching on television elsewhere. No one puts on a show like Las Vegas, and the Golden Knights did their duty. Michael Buffer announced the lineups, and the siren was cranked by Criss Angel and Lil Jon. Yeah, welcome to Vegas, baby.
1. Winning Game 1: The surprising hero of this exciting, back-and-forth game was fourth-line grinder Tomas Nosek. When Washington scored early in the third period to take a 4-3 lead, the Golden Knights came storming back with three goals of their own to win the opener. The fourth line scored all three goals, as a Ryan Reaves goal tied the game and Nosek came through midway through the period to give Vegas the lead for good. His empty-netter was icing on the cake. It just didn't get any better than this for the Golden Knights this season.