Mar 31, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones (31) tips the puck away from Vegas Golden Knights left wing James Neal (18) during the third period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

GOLDEN KNIGHTS CLINCH FIRST PLACE IN PACIFIC DIVISION

William Karlsson scored the game winner – a highlight-reel between-the-legs goal in the third period – as the Golden Knights (50-22-7, 107 points) clinched first place in the Pacific Division.  Karlsson scored his 42nd goal of the season to move into a tie for third place in the tightly-contested Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race. Only five players have scored more goals while playing on a team in its inaugural season: Blaine Stoughton in 1979-80 (56 w/ HFD), Wayne Gretzky in 1979-80 (51 w/ EDM), Blair MacDonald in 1979-80 (46 w/ EDM), Mike Rogers in 1979-80 (44 w/ HFD) and Joe Malone in 1917-18 (44 w/ MTL).

Marc-Andre Fleury (29 saves) earned his 404th career win to pass Grant Fuhr (403) for sole possession of 11th place on the NHL’s all-time list among goaltenders.

The Golden Knights hosted their final home game of the season and retired the No. 58 to remember the events of Oct. 1 and the 58 victims of the tragedy. Vegas posted a 29-10-2 (60 points) mark at T-Mobile Arena in 2017-18, setting an NHL record for most home wins by a team in its inaugural season.

The Golden Knights became the first modern-era expansion team from any of the four North American professional sports leagues to start from scratch and finish first in its division (excluding mergers and all-expansion divisions).  Two NHL teams finished atop the division in their first season: the 1926-27 New York Rangers in the American Division and 1967-68 Philadelphia Flyers in the all-expansion West Division.

In the NBA, the 1949-50 Indianapolis Olympians won the all-expansion Western Division. That same season, the Syracuse Nationals won the Eastern Division after joining from the National Basketball League; the 1976-77 Denver Nuggets followed suit by winning the Midwest Division after joining from the American Basketball Association.  The 1950 Cleveland Browns earned the top spot in the American Conference after joining the NFL from the All-American Football Conference.

* Information provided via NHL Press Release

 

National Hockey League Press Release. Information provided from the NHL that describes various news releases that describe current events in the league.

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