There’s a commercial that’s been playing the last two years, produced by the NHL about how hockey players never say “I”, they say “we” instead. The Vegas Golden Knights are the epitome of that commercial writ large.
After a dominating performance in Game Three that put the VGK right back in the series, the players spoke in no uncertain terms about their unwavering confidence in themselves.
“Even when we’re down we still have that faith that we believe in ourselves, that we can turn this around,” said William Karlsson. “Today (Game Three) for example is one of those games. What I like about this team (is that) we never give up.”
Mark Stone is quick to credit his teammates for building that culture from Day One of the Vegas Golden Knights franchise, talking up Jonathan Marchessault after his game-changing goal.
“He’s one of the guys who helped build the culture of this team. That’s why you see us able to come back in these games. We could have easily folded the tents, packed up and gone down 0-3.”
But they didn’t. All season long we’ve heard the Golden Knights using the “royal we” when talking about themselves and the belief that exists within the dressing room. So many times this team has come from behind to steal games. Opposing defenses struggle to lock them down because up and down the bench the confidence – the swagger – is always there.
“You can’t be a great player if you’re not on a great team,” Stone said in praising the VGK at every position. “(It) creates a great team environment. That allows everybody to perform throughout the system. The thing I love most about this team is guys play their roles. We’ve got 20 guys going out there every night and doing their job which creates a great team.”
“We just stuck with it,” said head coach Pete DeBoer. “We just kept our belief in our game, which I think has been in a good place if you throw out Game One.”
Of course, the crowd could have been the first star easily for Game Three as a sold-out T-Mobile Arena was deafening.
Golden Knights fans have been taught to expect resiliency, and they respond accordingly. Even they have the belief that the VGK are never out of a game. The expectation exists that every game could and should be a win.
Marchessault himself exuded that confidence after the game.
“Last game (Game Two) I think we played a great game and should have had a better outcome. Tonight we stuck with it. Obviously we were down 2-1 but we were the better team out there tonight.”
Another trait of this Vegas Golden Knights team is that they don’t dwell on the past, win or lose. Marchessault jumped right to that point.
“Now it’s all about next game. We can’t get too high or too low. You gotta focus on the next game and that’s what we’re going to do.”