This week, New York hockey fans have a rare opportunity to see something they have never seen before.
The NHL’s newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights, are set to visit the Big Apple when they face the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on Monday and the Rangers on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
And the expansion team is the definition of red hot.
The Golden Knights are currently on a five-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the NHL.
Their 8-1-0 record through their first nine games is second-best in the Western Conference behind only the Los Angeles Kings.
While it’s still early, Vegas has already exceeded the expectations of many considering most expansion teams struggle mightily upon their arrival to the NHL.
The 1974-75 Washington Capitals won eight times in 80 games during their inaugural season.
Vegas has been able to get off to this hot start despite facing some critical injury issues.
They lost their top-two goaltenders in Marc Andre-Fleury, one of the early faces of the franchise, and Malcolm Subban. But Oscar Dansk, an unknown 23-year-old former second-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012, has won his first three career NHL starts with a .959 save percentage.
Veteran forward James Neal has fueled the offense with seven goals and three assists (10 points) in his first nine games with the expansion side.
The Golden Knights first meet an Islanders team on Monday (7 p.m.) that has been heating up as of late. With four wins in their last five games, the Islanders have hopped up three spots in the Metropolitan Division from seventh to fourth.
John Tavares has been unstoppable as of late with two hat tricks in his last three games. His nine goals this season ranks third in the NHL.
The Rangers (Tuesday night, 7 p.m.), on the other hand, are trying to work their way out of an early-season slump that sees them rooted near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
They are 2-2-0 after a five-game losing streak, a disappointing opening month considering nine of their first 12 games this season came at home.
Tuesday’s matchup against the Golden Knights will be New York’s 10th game at Madison Square Garden in October. Having a 4-7-2 record at best heading into November makes the postseason berth look awfully difficult regardless of how early in the season it is.