LAS VEGAS — The two former Buffalo Sabres who are members of the Vegas Golden Knights say their experience with the NHL's newest expansion team has been a whirlwind from the day they were drafted in June.
Winger William Carrier and defenseman Brayden McNabb were both taken by Vegas in the expansion draft, Carrier from the Sabres and McNabb from the Los Angeles Kings.
The Golden Knights became the first expansion club to win their first three games and improved to 4-1 with Sunday's 3-1 win over the Boston Bruins. They host the Sabres Tuesday night at 10 p.m. Eastern time (MSG, Radio 550 AM).
"It's been a good feeling around here," said Carrier, 22. "Guys really enjoy coming to the rink and that's the attitude you have to have. It's a hardworking team and that's what the coaches are implanting in us. Guys are doing exactly that."
McNabb has one assist in four games, sitting out Sunday as a healthy scratch on the crowded Vegas blueline. Carrier has no points while filling an energy role on the fourth line with Tomas Nosek and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
"It's an international line. That's what we call ourselves," said a smiling Carrier, who is French Canadian and playing with Nosek, a Czech, and Bellemare, a Frenchman.
McNabb, a former third-round pick of the Sabres, was traded in 2014 by former General Manager Tim Murray. Carrier made his NHL debut last season with Buffalo, collecting five goals and three assists in 41 games.
Carrier said he texted congratulations to Justin Bailey after the Western New York native scored his first goal of the season Sunday in Anaheim.
"There was disappointment last year," Carrier said. "We felt we had a good team and couldn't get wins together. The coach and the GM get let go and it's really the players who are responsible for that. So they're trying a new system now and we know they've got some good players."
The Vegas players are getting used to lots of visiting fans in their building, which was nearly a 50-50 split Friday against Detroit.
"Those Buffalo fans will be out. I know that," said McNabb. "It's different because you know there will be a lot of tourists. Especially Original Six teams and other places that have been around a while. But our fans are loud. They've been tremendous for us. The city is really behind us and we want to give that back to them."
* * *
It took a review by the National Hockey League but Sabres forward Sam Reinhart officially has his first goal of the season.
The NHL has changed the scoring on the game-winning goal from Sunday's 3-1 victory in Anaheim, crediting the goal to Reinhart on an assist from Benoit Pouliot with 31.3 seconds left in the second period. Reinhart said after the game the puck deflected off his stick after Pouliot harassed the Ducks' defense into a turnover.
So the goal has gone from Pouliot unassisted to Reinhart from Pouliot, whose first Buffalo point becomes an assist.
The league also added an assist to Jason Pominville on the first goal the Sabres scored in Saturday's 4-2 loss at Los Angeles. That goal now reads Zemgus Girgensons from Jack Eichel and Pominville. The second assist had been credited to Jake McCabe.
The change gives Pominville a two-point game and seven points on the season, tied with Eichel and Evander Kane for the team lead.
The Sabres were given Monday off in Las Vegas and will hit the ice Tuesday morning in T-Mobile Arena to prepare for Tuesday night's game.
* * *
The Golden Knights will be without several injured regulars Tuesday, notably three-time Stanley Cup champion goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. He suffered a concussion Friday against Detroit and has been replaced by Malcolm Subban, who earned his first NHL win Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Boston, his former team.
* * *
The Sabres announced the creation of the "Captain’s Class" program, which will reward students and athletes who are making a positive difference in their schools and community.
Buffalo’s four alternate captains (Ryan O’Reilly, Zach Bogosian, Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo, will all participate in the initiative. It begins Friday, when the Sabres host Vancouver.
Students selected to join the Captain’s Class will receive four tickets to a Sabres game and passes for the team’s Gold Carpet Experience. In addition, each recipient will receive a Sabres puck autographed by one of the club’s alternate captains.
“As a group, we felt it was important to recognize kids who were making a positive impact on our community,” O’Reilly said in a statement. “We hope these children will feel a sense of pride in being recognized for the good work they are doing and continue to be an inspiration for their peers.”
The Captain’s Class will recognize students who exhibit one or more of the following characteristics: Leadership, compassion, respect, volunteerism, character and selflessness. The program is open to youths ages 8 to 18 and nomination forms are available at Sabres.com. Family members may not nominate.