All eyes were glued to the giant glowing screen in downtown Las Vegas as Golden Knights fans hoped for a decisive win in the series against the San Jose Sharks.
They didn’t get their wish Thursday night, as the Knights lost 5-2 and will have to face off with the San Jose Sharks again, this time at home Sunday. The Knights lost game five in the first round playoffs, but lead the Sharks 3-2 in the series.
No start time has been scheduled yet for Sunday’s game at the T-Mobile Arena.
Fans watching the game outside at the Downtown Las Vegas Events center showed optimism, during and after the game.
Chad Navin, who wore a jersey signed by Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt said the team is “more together” this year.
Like other fans, the 34-year-old said he got into the Knights after the Route 91 Harvest festival mass shooting in 2017. He was supposed to go to the concert that night, and his friend, Eric Silva, died in the attack.
“These guys came — it really lifted my spirits,” Chad Navin said, his brother, Darren Navin, adding that the team was “inspirational” after the tragedy.
About the team’s shot at going further in the playoffs toward the Stanley Cup, Darren Navin predicted the team is “going to do it again.”
The Knights lagged in the first period of the game, one point behind the Sharks after they scored two goals.
Laci Brady said she felt “fantastic” after the Knight’s first goal at the end of the first period. She clutched a $5-dollar vodka shot in a plastic cup, a deal the event center offers after each Knights’ goal.
“I like that it’s local; we like that it’s community style,” she said about watching the game with her friends. It’s nice for the city’s residents to have something positive to root for, Brady added.
After the game, 42-year-old Donovan Holden started walking out of the event center, his Knights flag attached to a hockey stick slung over his shoulder. He and his wife, Bethany Holden, said they believe the Knights will win at home this weekend.
“We’ll win it on Sunday; I just want to see us win at home,” Donovan Holden said. “They do better at home.”
Across the valley, thousands of fans packed into the Henderson Pavilion, swinging battle towels, flags and even a inflatable shark on a fishing line, in support of their hometown team.
Knights’ mascot, Chance, and the Golden Aces cheer squad energized the crowd to the beat of the Knight Line drum line. Chants of “Go Knights Go,” a familiar sound during games at T-Mobile Arena, sporadically broke out throughout the game.
Las Vegas resident Casandra Michaelson, who has attended several home games this year, said the pavilion scene had a familiar feel.
“They brought the game here,” Michaelson said, who attended the event with her son and family friends. “That’s what it feels like. We’re missing the players, but we’re here watching them and we’re rooting on our boys.”
She said the team brought the community together like nothing before.
“Seeing everybody around wearing Knights gear in Vegas,” Michaelson said. “It makes a whole world of difference having a professional sports team do that. We’re about more than just the Strip, and partying in casinos, this is our home.”