William Karlsson has been a staple in the Vegas Golden Knights lineup ever since the team acquired him at the expansion draft. Being a throw-in put a chip on his shoulder to show the Columbus Blue Jackets that he should have been kept. The next season he shocked the league with 43 goals as he became one of the league’s top rising stars for the newest franchise.
Even though he put up career numbers, he was even better on the other side of the puck. His ability to kill penalties with his speed and smarts is what helped the Golden Knights have a record-setting inaugural season. At the end of it, they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final but ultimately fell short of the holy grail.
Fast forward to 2020 and Karlsson had played in every game in Golden Knights history, until now. He suffered an upper-body injury and is considered week-to-week.
Including playoffs, Karlsson had played 240 consecutive games and is the franchise leader in games played, goals and points. With the unfortunate injury, those numbers are now in jeopardy, but with the massive extension he signed last summer he will be near or at the top of a lot of stats when all is said and done.
We are going to take a look at Karlsson’s top-3 games in his career as a Golden Knight. Here they are.
#3: Golden Knights vs Calgary Flames – March 18, 2018
The first game on our list is against a fiery divisional opponent. The Golden Knights defeated the Calgary Flames 4-0 and Karlsson registered three of his team’s four goals.
After a scoreless first period, Karlsson and the offense showed up in the second, scoring four goals in less than 10 minutes. Three of them came off of his stick as he recorded a natural hat trick in under eight and a half minutes. Even with the offensive output he produced, it was only good for the second star of the game as Marc-Andre Fleury made 42 saves and received first star honors.
#2: Golden Knights vs Toronto Maple Leafs – Dec. 31, 2017
The Golden Knights ended 2017 with a bang, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 6-3. Karlsson set a career-high in goals and points in a game, registering his first career hat trick and adding an assist for a four-point night.
The Golden Knights got off to a hot start, leading 3-0 after the first. Karlsson had a goal and added his second one in the middle frame after the Maple Leafs got on the board early in the period. In the third, he set up Jonathan Marchessault for an insurance tally and with the goalie pulled, Karlsson slid the puck into an empty net for his first career three-goal game.
#1: Golden Knights vs San Jose Sharks – Round 2, Game 1, 2018 Playoffs
The Golden Knights had just swept the Los Angeles Kings in their first-ever playoff series and were looking to keep the momentum going against their rivals from Northern California. And boy, did the train keep rolling. They defeated the San Jose Sharks 7-0 in Game 1 and ended up outscoring them 22-14 in the six-game series of the Western Conference Semifinals.
Their top line of Karlsson, Marchessault and Reilly Smith set the tone for the entire series. The three of them combined for 25 points in the second-round matchup and in Game 1 each of them registered three points apiece. Karlsson finished the game with three assists, two of them on the powerplay and was dominant in the face-off circle, winning 56% of his draws.
These three games cemented Karlsson’s legacy for their inaugural season and with his golden locks and lights-out performances on the ice, he became a fan favorite. While his iron man streak has come to an end, there is no doubt that he will have the opportunity to create another and add career highlights and memories to this list.
Love watching every level of hockey. I have been writing for DobberProspects since 2016 and excited to be a part of THW.