The Vegas Golden Knights' wild pre-game skits, where on-ice actors fly from the rafters and enact elaborate battle scenes, have gained nearly as much buzz as the team's unlikely run to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season.
The word of the day in the Golden Knights locker room was "doubt".
Washington holds a Stanley Cup Playoff record no one wants: The team has lost five series when leading 3-1, and that's the most in the National Hockey League. He has accurately predicted the three straight wins by Washington, and now turns his focus to the key elements that will determine the Game 5 victor.
"There was nothing that he could have done", Gallant said. So if you want to forget about how title-contending teams in other sports have fared, fine.
"The number one thing we're doing is enhancing our home ice advantage", Jonny Greco, Vegas' vice president of entertainment production, told Reuters in an interview this week. He's played in each of the Knights' 19 playoff games.
But when James Neal had the puck on his stick early in the first period, staring at a wide open net, and then proceeded to fire it off the inside of the far post it felt like one of those moments that would be a turning point in the game, in the series, and ultimately, in their season.
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There is so much for Washington hockey fans to be pumped about. "I wouldn't worry about him". After leading the league with a plus-49 rating during the regular season, he is a minus-2 in four games against the Capitals. Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault have combined for two goals and four assists. Karlsson was not available to the media. "We've just got to make sure we're taking away the passes". But that's adversity that we faced all year I think as a team and as a line. "But I think that's scarred over and has made us a little stronger for it". In Bellemare's mind, Game 5 isn't a chance to get back into the series...
Despite the home fans' enthusiastic reaction to each new chapter of the pre-game saga, Greco said not everyone had been thrilled about the over-the-top productions in the traditionally-minded National Hockey League. "They're like, 'You've ruined the sanctity of the game!'"
Until now, the Capitals have declined to pay the $100,000 required for each extra hour of service under Metro's policies, but District leaders have rounded up sponsors to pay for the extended service. They must also find a way to slow a Capitals offense that has been deadly efficient. They've been through the same season, same playoffs.
But something seems different about this Washington team.
"It has been a lot of fun and there has been a high level of inspiration from this insane creative team I get to work with".
"I liked our first line last night for the most part", said Gallant.