- Malcolm Subban got a surprise start on Sunday, and he turned it into his first NHL win, over his former team.
Malcolm Subban probably didn't expect to play on Sunday, let alone start. But he did, and it was pretty sweet for the 23-year-old netminder.
With Golden Knights starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury sidelined by a concussion, sustained in a 6-3 loss to Detroit on Friday, Subban was called into action for his Vegas debut. Against the Boston Bruins, the team that drafted him at No. 24 in the 2012 draft. The same team that waived him a day before the season began, before he was picked up by Vegas.
Coming into Sunday night's game at T-Mobile Arena, Subban had started all of two NHL games in his career, sporting an 0-2 record with a 5.81 goals-against average and .727 save percentage. None of that mattered against his old teammates, as he stopped 21 of the 22 shots sent his way, though the one that go by him in the final minute of the game and ruined his shot at his first shutout went off of Vegas teammate William Karlsson and was credited to Bruins winger David Pastrnak.
The Golden Knights hung on for a 3-1 win, Subban's first in the big league.
"The biggest thing was just not thinking, staying focused, staying in the moment. It feels really good to get the first win in your first game," said Subban, who became the team's full-time backup after Calvin Pickard was waived. "My first shot I got good control on it and that got me in the game a lot. You never know how the game is going to go in the NHL. It’s really technical. Sometimes you don’t get a lot of shots, so you gotta stay focused, and I felt I did that tonight."
Subban wasn't the only Vegas player who stepped up his game; forward Alex Tuch and Vadim Shipachyov—making his NHL debut, called up from AHL Chicago after Jonathan Marchessault and Erik Haula joined Fleury on the injured reserved, potted their first NHL goals.
"I always want to make a statement. I gotta try to prove myself in this league. I understand the situation management was in. It wasn’t performance based so that made me feel a little bit better," Tuch said. "I tried to go down there and prove I was one of the high-end guys in the AHL, and now I’m trying to prove that I can make this league."
"They were great call-ups today," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "They played a good game, They capitalized on their chances. [Shipachyov] is a skilled and talented guy. He's still learning out system over here. I liked his game tonight. He played hard and he played well and I like what we can bring to our hockey club."
For their efforts, Subban, Tuch and Shipachov earned the game's three stars, helping the Golden Knights improve the 4-1-0 on the season, currently tops in the Pacific Division.