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Vegas Golden Knights become fastest NHL expansion team to reach 20 wins

It took 31 games into the season for the Golden Knights to hit this mark.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Vegas Golden Knights Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There was a lot of fanfare around the Vegas Golden Knights game on Thursday. The Pittsburgh Penguins came into town, meaning starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury faced off against his former team for the first time in an emotional, yet wonderful, midseason game.

The game, a 2-1 victory for the Golden Knights, also catapulted Vegas into NHL history. With last night’s victory, the Golden Knights have now become the fastest NHL expansion team to hit the 20-win mark in its first season. As of Thursday night’s win, it took the Golden Knights 31 games to hit 20 wins.

Previously, the New York Rangers in 1926-27 hit 20 wins after 35 games.

It’s been a hallmark year for the NHL’s 31st team in its opening season. While they were expected to be scraping the barrel for wins after putting together a patchwork team, the Golden Knights have a 20-9-2 record with 42 points on the season. That mark is good enough for second best in the Pacific Division, one point behind the Los Angeles Kings, and puts them in the league’s top five teams.

It’s no doubt surprising that the Golden Knights have done so well this early. Vegas has rolled out five different goaltenders this season thanks to unfortunate injuries, and despite it all, a rotating cast of Fleury, Malcolm Subban, Maxime Lagace, Oscar Dansk, and Dylan Ferguson have played their hearts out to keep the team afloat.

Not only that: Their offense has excelled this year despite being cobbled together during the offseason. Coming into Thursday, the Golden Knights were the NHL’s fifth-best team with 105 goals for on the year. Six Vegas players have over 20 points on the season, and William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and James Neal have been standouts in creating and putting away opportunities.

Though a playoff spot is not certain just yet, the Golden Knights are putting themselves in a favorable position for a postseason run come April.