No team in NHL history debuted as impressively as the Vegas Golden Knights. During their inaugural NHL campaign of 2017-18, they finished first in the Pacific Division, joining the 1967-68 Philadelphia Flyers and 1926-27 New York Rangers as the only first-year expansion NHL teams to finish in first place in their division. The Golden Knights were the first team in NHL history to open their initial season 3-0. They established NHL marks for the most wins (51) and points (109) by a first-year franchise.
Golden Knights Odds & Lines
When wagering on NHL games, bettors are always seeking out every advantage they can utilize, no matter how insignificant it might seem in the grand sceme of things, and when it comes to the Golden Knights, there is a huge elephant in the room that can shake even the strongest of opponents. It's Vegas, baby, after all. No city in North American professional sports comes equipped with as many distractions as the Las Vegas strip, especially for teams on extended road trips who might be shacking up there for a couple of days.
Golden Knights Schedule
They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, and quite often, what stays in Vegas is the two points awarded for a victory in the NHL. Vegas proved to be an instant hit on home ice, quickly developing a rabid, faithful following, and ramping up the crowd with the NHL's most elaborate pre-game festivities. In an era where home-ice advantage is nowhere what it used to be with most arenas taking on a cookie cutter format in terms of design, Vegas is as tough a home opponent as there is in the league.
Golden Knights Standings
Playing the NHL's Pacific Division, the Golden Knights found a good fit right away. Their fast-paced, up-tempo style of hockey caused plenty of problems for teams like the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks, clubs that prefer more of a big and heavy brand of game. And with the three Canadian teams in the division - the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks - all going younger and at different stages of the rebuilding process, Vegas has been able to take advantage of these retooling squads.
How To Bet On The Vegas Golden Knights
While it's doubtful that few, if any, bettors would have been savvy enough to get in on the Vegas Golden Knights at +15000 to win the Stanley Cup at the start of their inaugural NHL season, that fact of the matter is that the smart money would have recognized that the Golden Knights weren't going to be your typical expansion squad. Each of the 30 NHL teams were only permitted to protect 10 skaters and a goaltenders, so plenty of quality talent would be available to the Golden Knights in the expansion draft.
Vegas continued its record-setting ways into the playoffs. They swept the Los Angeles Kings in their first playoff series, joining the 1969-70 Pittsburgh Penguins and the 1914 Boston Braves as the only North American major-league sports franchises to sweep their inaugural playoff series. Vegas joined the 1976-77 Portland TrailBlazers as the only teams to sweep a playoff series at any point in their first season of play. And the Golden Knights were the first franchise to win eight of their first 10 playoff games.
The Golden Knights weren't the first NHL expansion team to make the playoffs in their first season of play. The Pittsburgh Pirates were the original team to do so back in 1925-26, and the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks both did it in 1926-27. When the NHL expanded from six to 12 teams in 1967-68, the St. Louis Blues, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings all qualified for the playoffs and the Blues reached the Stanley Cup final, where they were swept by the Montreal Canadiens.
The NHL Bets on Vegas
For decades, the theory was that there would never be a North American major-league sports franchise placed in Las Vegas, for the simple reason that it was the location of the world's sports-betting mecca and pro sports would be too scared to be situated in the midst of that environment. The NHL offered inklings along the way they would be the first of the big leagues to bet on Vegas. A preseason game between the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings was held on an outdoor rink at Caesars Palace in 1991.
The Golden Knights, it should be noted, were not the first big-league pro sports team in Las Vegas, however. Surprisingly, it was the Canadian Football League that first opted to give Vegas a try during the league's brief and ill-fated U.S. expansion in the mid-1990s. The Las Vegas Posse existed for just one season, the 1994 campaign.
The Posse went 5-13, finished second-last in the league and are remembered for two things - they were the first team of legendary CFL QB Anthony Calvillo and for the horrenous edition of O Canada warbled prior to a game by singer Dennis K.C. Parks, under his stage name of Greg Bartholomew. The Las Vegas Outlaws played in the XFL's lone season in 2001 and suited up another football legend - defensive back Rod Smart, better known by his nickname He Hate Me.
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