The pairings of Nate Schmidt and Brayden McNabb, Shea Theodore and Deryk Engelland, and Colin Miller with Luca Sbisa or Jon Merrill, have helped the Golden Knights become a very tight defensive team during the playoffs, something that will have to carry into Game 1 at T-Mobile Arena today against the Washington Capitals.
Even the players from the NHL's last two teams standing seemed a bit surprised by their achievements when they gathered Sunday in balmy 84-degree Nevada weather.
They play here, and they also live here.
"That created possibilities that we may not have anticipated early on because people either had expansion stress, too many players, and not being able to protect them all, or account stress, they had money issues", McPhee said. "Las Vegas has been a wonderful place to live and work". Las Vegas was, after all, a town starved for major league sports.
After living together as roommates at Bowling Green and MacLellan working as McPhee's right-hand man for 13 years building the Capitals, the close relationship cooled after McPhee was sacked in 2014 and MacLellan took over.
McPhee was the one who convinced MacLellan to get into scouting for the Capitals, then moved him up the ladder ultimately to assistant general manager. "We work so hard all year".
Of course, the beauty of it all is that history only matters until the moment the puck is dropped and Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup final begins. Ovechkin is a terror with the puck, one of the best scorers the National Hockey League has ever seen.
"While I'd like to tell you we programmed our winter sports around the Canadian market coming to visit, it's just kind of more of a bonus for us".
"[We're] not as close, I don't think", MacLellan said. Hopefully we can get there and I'll definitely be in the No. 81 [Jonathan] Marchessault jersey. We're going to approach it as we always have and just get ready for (tonight) and see if we can win a hockey game.
"One thing different that stuck out is probably the midnight game you did right before Christmas break every year", said Engelland, who played for the Wranglers from 2003-05.
As for Tuch, he is focused on continuing to improve, crediting his teammates and his coaching staff for pushing him.
For some, the bond between city and team started developing when billionaire Bill Foley plunked down $500 million and Las Vegas was awarded an expansion franchise.
Then there's that whole thing about the Golden Knights being a division rival.
For many, though, it came when Deryk Engelland - a Las Vegas resident for more than a decade - stood on the ice before the first home game with hardly a dry eye in the crowd.
Starting at 2:30 p.m. Monday, fans can shop in a pop-up Vegas Golden Knights shop, play corn toss, use the shooting cage, get an airbrushed Golden Knights look, face paint or even a tattoo.
England's speech was short, his message poignant.
Businesses in and around Summerside have put up words of encouragement for the coaches, who call P.E.I. home. "To the families and friends of the victims, know we will do everything we can to help you and our city heal". The over-under for total number of goals scored in game one tonight is 5.5. Ovechkin leads the Capitals with 12 goals, and his 22 points is second on Washington - Evgeny Kuznetsov has tallied 24 points. "We made good selections".