Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) blocks a shot by Nashville Predators right wing Craig Smith (15) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
On back to back nights on the road, the Vegas Golden Knights showed vast improvement and emerged victorious against both home teams.
After a 4-3 victory in Raleigh, the team picked up and headed to Nashville, where Marc-Andre Fleury returned from a somewhat extended hiatus.
Goals scored by Chandler Stephenson, Nic Roy and Reilly Smith - in conjunction with Fleury putting on a spectacular save performance for the shutout - had Nashville fans reeling in their seats. For those who don't remember, we also beat them 4-3 in Bridgestone Arena the night before Thanksgiving, so that's 2 strikes against the Predators on on their home turf, where we are concerned.
Since we were lucky enough to attend this part of the road trip, we got to experience this live and in person, and we would 100% recommend. Their arena is awesome, fans are generally friendly, and their in-arena entertainment comes a close second to ours. There are a lot of similarities (which we aren't entirely sure if VGK started first or they did), from the giant Preds mascot head that lowers to the ground before the team comes out, to the projection of video onto the ice, to their pretty solid game music choices. We will hand it to them that having their mascot, Fang, fall from the rafters down to the ice during the pregame was definitely a surprise and an edge they have on us. We look forward to seeing Chance do that soon!
Pregame you have to check out Broadway, which is jam-packed with bars playing live music everywhere you go. We had an excellent dinner at Jason Aldean's, which seemed an appropriate homage to pay during our visit, due to his ties with Vegas and the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy from Oct 1. We then ventured on to Tootsie's, which is located almost directly across from Bridgestone Arena. Taking place in that multi-story bar was "Tootsie's Takeover" - a VGK pregame get-together arranged by a group of diehard VGK fans and pretty well attended by the masses who traveled for the game.
Once in the arena, we found ourselves mesmerized by their team store which, much like VGK, has game day and team pucks for pretty much every occasion that pops up in a calendar year. By the way, we did not find that to be the case at all in Raleigh, where their team store sold a simple selection of basic pucks and none for game day, sadly. We did go ahead and pick up an All Star 2020 puck while we were there though, to add to our collection! And in Nashville, the game day puck.
We departed Bridgestone Arena celebrating with tons of fellow VGK fans, and with high hopes of returning there at some point in the near future as we found it to be a fantastic overall experience! The team left that same night, headed for Tampa, where they were going to attend a Super Bowl Sunday party to kick things off, followed by practice today and of course taking on Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow. We are still in a hot debate if we will also continue on for that game stop, or head home to prepare for our upcoming busy February homestand.
Regardless of what we decide, we witnessed a 4 point pick up during this trip, which helped propel our team back into spot #3 in the Pacific standings. With 2 more games on the road, any more points accumulated could see us make a jump into second over Edmonton. With Vancouver firmly in spot 1, they still aren't too far ahead of us and their loss yesterday to Hurricanes helped keep that gap very close. It's still anyone's game with a couple months of the season remaining!