Marc-Andre Fleury has tickled the fancy of Vegas Golden Knights fans all season

MAY 17, 2018
LAS VEGAS

Such are the extraordinary powers of Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury that he didn’t even have to be on the ice to earn an assist.

A scoring review after his spectacular 33-save performance against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday confirmed he deserved the second assist on the empty-net goal by Jonathan Marchessault that gave the Golden Knights the upper hand in the Western Conference final. Fleury was surprised to hear he had gotten the assist. His teammates aren’t surprised by any of his feats. “He does it all,” forward David Perron said.
Fleury, 33, did the Pittsburgh Penguins an enormous favor last season when he accepted their request that he waive his no-move clause so they wouldn’t have to protect him in the expansion draft that stocked Vegas’ roster and could keep younger, salary cap-friendly Matt Murray. The Golden Knights got instant credibility when they claimed Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champion. They also got a man who taps his goalposts and thanks them in his native French and in English when they stop pucks, a man who learned to use humor to defuse white-knuckle situations.
“I think that’s the key to making sure you don’t tense up at the wrong moment,” said Perron, who is expected to return Friday after missing two games because of an illness. “You make sure you keep playing your game, and that’s what he does. At the end of the day when he lost to Matt last year because he’s a younger goalie and the salary cap and all that stuff, he wants to prove himself. Every single day he’s out there he’s having fun.”

During the Golden Knights’ unexpected playoff journey, Fleury has joined fans in doing the wave and, on Wednesday, he slyly tickled the ear of Winnipeg forward Blake Wheeler when players began pushing and shoving in front of his goal crease. “I’d be having fun too if I was up 2-1 in the series,” Winnipeg forward Adam Lowry said as the teams prepared for Game 4 on Friday at T-Mobile Arena.
The Golden Knights hold that lead because Fleury has backed up his humor with seriously clutch efforts and is 10-3 with a 1.70 goals-against average, .945 save percentage, and a playoff-leading four shutouts. Among his most impressive work were a toe save and a scrambling body block in quick succession against Winnipeg forward Mark Scheifele in the third period Wednesday while protecting a one-goal lead. Asked where he ranked those stops among all the timely saves he has made during his career, he grinned in embarrassment.
“I don’t remember all my saves,” he said.
But his teammates will remember those two saves for a while. “I was on the bench. I was freaking out. I couldn’t believe they didn’t score, honestly,” said forward Alex Tuch, who scored Vegas’ third goal, at 8:13 of the second period, on a pass from James Neal. “It was an unbelievable couple of saves there. He kept us in the game the entire time. He was the key to our success.”

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From GM George McPhee, with love: Golden Knights want to thank you for our unparalleled success

Kevin Allen, USA TODAY Sports
Published 1:24 p.m. ET May 17, 2018

LAS VEGAS — Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee was named a finalist for the NHL’s GM of the year and we don’t need Las Vegas bookmakers to tell us he’s a prohibitive favorite to win the award.

The man has built the best expansion team in professional sports history. The Golden Knights are two wins short of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Final heading into Friday’s Game 4 at T-Mobile Arena (8 p.m, ET, NBC Sports Network). They lead the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 in their Western Conference final series.

The always-gracious McPhee will want to thank those who helped him get here, so we’ve tried to be helpful by filling out “Thank You” cards for him:

Dear Marc-Andre Fleury: Many thanks for your decision to waive your no-trade clause with the Pittsburgh Penguins to allow us to select you in the expansion draft. We wouldn’t be where we are without your goaltending and your presence in the dressing room. Your goaltending has been out of this world and your willingness to promote our team and the game in Las Vegas has helped us grow strong roots in the community. People said you were a classy gentleman and the perfect teammate, but you can’t fully appreciate those traits until you see them up close and personal as we have.

Dear Vegas owner Bill Foley: Thanks for everything, especially the “Golden Knights” nickname and for saying we could make the playoffs in three years and win the Stanley Cup in six. We’re not afraid of high expectations in Vegas.

Dear NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: Thanks for signing off on a more generous player dispersal system for the expansion draft. This should be a model for future expansion in all sports. When you see how this has helped establish our team in Las Vegas, you wonder why we were so hard on past expansion teams. When McDonald’s Corporation awards a new franchise, the company doesn’t insist that it launch with inferior items on the menu. Why did sports leagues do that for so many years?

Dear Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon: Should probably send you a box of chocolates along with this ‘”thank you” for the sweet deal you gave us on Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith. Landing Marchessault to take Smith’s contract off your hands gave us two-thirds of our top line. Forever grateful.

Dear NFL: Thanks for moving slowly on coming to Las Vegas because we’ve been the first plant our flag and win over this incredibly passionate fan base. It’s laughable now that some people believed pro sports wouldn’t work here. Our fan base is electrifying. If you want to know how to ignite them, we can help.

Dear Florida Panthers: Thanks to whoever made the final decision to fire Gerard “Turk” Gallant as coach. (Dale Tallon didn’t have final say at the time). All that matters is Turk – no one calls him Gerard – was available to be our coach. He’s perfect to lead our band of Golden Misfits. He relates to players and he understands the game at a DNA level.

Dear Expendables: Thanks to all of my players who came in with the attitude that their former teams were wrong to make them available to us. William Karlsson went from six goals for the Columbus Blue Jackets to 43 for us. Erik Haula went from 15 goals for the Minnesota Wild to 29.  Nate Schmidt went from third-pairing defenseman in Washington to a top defenseman for us.

Dear former Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher: Sorry you had so many skilled players on your roster that you couldn’t protect them all. You were in a difficult position that forced you to give us two quality players (Haula and Alex Tuch) to protect players such as Mathew Dumba and Marco Scandella, etc. P.S. We think Tuch is going to be a force for us.

READ FULL STORY: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/columnist/allen/2018/05/17/nhl-playoffs-golden-knights-thank-you-nfl-gary-bettman/619497002/

 


 

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Vegas Golden Knights’ Success Should Change The Way NHL Teams Do Business


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June, 2016: It seemed like a perfect plan.

  • Collect $500 million from a rich Las Vegas businessman in exchange for the first new NHL expansion franchise in 17 years.
  • Divide that money between the NHL’s 30 existing clubs, for a cool cash injection of $16.667 million per team.
  • Surrender one player to the new franchise in an expansion draft. For that kind of money, general manager George McPhee and his team could even have access to mid-level players. What could possibly be the harm?

We all had a good chuckle when Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley said in 2015 that he wanted to see his team make the playoffs by Year 3 and win a Stanley Cup by Year 8.

Scott Cowan@GolfYeti

Listening to Bill Foley talk hockey in Las Vegas. Says playoffs in 3 yrs, Stanley Cup in 8. Positive man.

He later revised that projection to a Cup in six years. Turns out, that still may have been conservative.

You know the story by now: the Golden Knights won their division, made the playoffs and swept the Los Angeles Kings in their first-round series. On Sunday, they reached the Western Conference Final after recording their fourth shutout win of the playoffs and eliminating the San Jose Sharks.

The favored hashtag now running beside #VegasStrong is #CupIn1.

The Golden Knights’ success is so unprecedented, it’s still difficult to understand how the team can actually be this good. It’s supposed to take years to build a Stanley Cup contender — nurturing top prospects after they’re acquired in the draft, retaining good players with lucrative long-term contracts and supplementing rosters with free agents. Successful teams are supposed to build winning cultures over many years, with veteran leadership groups that keep the dressing room united. History matters.

Nobody argued that McPhee got off to a good start when he anchored the Golden Knights’ roster with three-time Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins. But Vegas charted its course for the playoffs without him, going 16-8-1 during the 25-game stretch between October and December where Fleury was sidelined with a concussion.

READ FULL ARTICLE AT FORBES.COM: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolschram/2018/05/07/vegas-golden-knights-success-should-change-the-way-nhl-teams-do-business/#75d92dd46123

 


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Column: Vegas provides a new template for expansion teams

Dan Bouchard can appreciate, better than most, the Miracle in the Desert.

He was a goalie for the expansion Atlanta Flames back in the 1970s, so he knows how difficult it is to build a competitive team from scratch.

“It’s astonishing what they’ve done in Vegas,” said Bouchard, who still lives in the Atlanta area, when reached by phone this week. “I think it’s the greatest thing to happen to hockey since the Miracle on Ice,” he added, referring to the seminal U.S. upset of the mighty Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics. “It’s that good.”

Indeed, Vegas has set a new norm for expansion teams in all sports. No longer will it be acceptable to enter a league with a squad full of dregs and take your lumps for a few years, all while fans willingly pay big-league prices to watch an inferior product.

The Golden Knights have come up with a stunning new template for how this expansion thing can be done.

They romped to the Pacific Division title with 51 wins. In the opening round of the playoffs, they finished off the Los Angeles Kings in four straight games , casting aside a franchise that has a pair of Stanley Cup titles this decade while becoming the first expansion team in NHL history to sweep a postseason series in its debut year.

Imagine how storied franchises in Montreal and Detroit and Edmonton must be feeling right about now.

They didn’t even make the playoffs.

From Bouchard’s perspective, it’s all good. Vegas’ success right out of the starting gate will make everyone raise their game in the years to come.

“This will wake up the teams that are sitting on $90 million budgets and not doing anything,” he said. “People will say, ‘If Vegas can do it, we can do it.’ That’s a paradigm shift in the game.”

When one considers how NHL expansion teams have fared over the years, the Vegas story becomes even more compelling.

The Golden Knights are the first new team in the NHL’s modern era to have a winning record in their inaugural season, a period that began in 1967 and encompasses 26 new franchises (including one, the ill-fated California Seals, who are no longer around).

Only six other first-year teams have made the playoffs — and that includes four that were assured of postseason berths in the landmark 1967 expansion. You see, when the NHL finally broke out of its Original Six format, doubling in size to a dozen teams, it placed all the new franchises in the same division, with the top four getting postseason berths even with sub-.500 records.

Until the Golden Knights came along, the Florida Panthers were the gold standard for NHL expansion. They finished one game below .500 in their first season (1993-94) and missed the playoffs by a single point. In Year 3, they had their first winning record and made it all the way to the Stanley Cup final, though they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche.

That remains the closest the Panthers have come to winning a title.

In Sin City, the wait for a championship figures to be much shorter. Heck, the Golden Knights might do it this year.

They’re 12 wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup in a city that has always had a soft spot for long shots.

“We’re still a few wins away from this being a great story,” said goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, a key contributor to the Golden Knights success.

Even now, it seems like a bit of dream to coach Gerard Gallant, who thankfully will be remembered for something other than getting left at the curb to hail his own cab after being fired by the Panthers.

“When this all started in October, we just wanted to compete,” Gallant said. “Now we’re going to the second round of the playoffs. It’s unreal.”

For sure, the Golden Knights wound up with a much more talented roster than most expansion teams — partly through astute planning, partly through getting access to better players as a reward for doling out a staggering $500 million expansion fee, which was a more than six-fold increase over the $80 million required of Minnesota and Columbus to enter the league in 2000.

The expansion draft netted a top-line goalie in Fleury, who helped Pittsburgh win three Stanley Cups; center Jonathan Marchessault, a 30-goal scorer in Florida who was surprisingly left exposed by the Panthers; and winger James Neal, who had scored more than 20 goals in all nine of his NHL seasons. It also provided a solid group of defensemen: Colin Miller, Nate Schmidt, Deryk Engelland and Brayden McNabb.

In addition, the Golden Knights wisely nabbed young Swedish center William Karlsson, who hadn’t done much in Columbus but became Vegas’ leading scorer with 43 goals and 35 assists.

“They’ve got some top centers. They’ve got some real good defense. They’ve got good goaltending,” Bouchard observed. “They went right down the middle. That’s how the built it. Then they complemented it with the fastest guys they could get their hands on. They went for speed.”

READ FULL ARTICLE: http://www.tampabay.com/column-vegas-provides-a-new-template-for-expansion-teams-ap_sportsc8fdd0dc37cc40489d74e3bc039db308

 

 


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Vegas Golden Knights Among Stanley Cup Favorites After First Round Sweep

In only a matter of four games, less than a week, the Vegas Golden Knights have gone from one of the best stories in hockey history to one of the best bets to hoist the Stanley Cup.

The Golden  Knights not only opened as the favorites in their second-round matchup against the San Jose Sharks, but they are now officially championship contenders. According to bookmakers, the Knights currently have the second-best odds of winning the Stanley Cup (4/1), just behind the Nashville Predators (7/2).

The expansion team has come a long way since opening the season as a 200-to-1 longshot to win hockey’s biggest prize.

After sweeping the Ducks in Round 1, the Knights continue calibrate everyone’s expectations. They’re now even bigger favorites in the second round than they were in the first round of the playoffs. Vegas opens  as -140 favorites to win the series against San Jose, better than their odds of -135 against Anaheim in the opening round.

Sin City vs. Silicon Valley

It’s a curious betting line for the series considering that San Jose not only had a better regular season than the team Vegas just eliminated, but the Sharks also looked equally dominant in a first-round sweep where they limited the Ducks to just four goals.

The Golden Knights do have home-ice advantage in the series, however, and they collected seven of a possible eight points in the regular season, posting 3-0-1 mark against the Sharks.

Surprises have become the norm for the Golden Knights, and the betting public wants a piece. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has  seen an unprecedented amount of betting on hockey, with the action on the Golden Knights approaching NFL-like levels at times.

READ FULL ARTICLE: https://www.onlinegambling.com/news/2018/04/vegas-golden-knights-among-stanley-cup-favorites-after-round-1-sweep/

 


Tourist or local? Vegas’ strategy to have the NHL’s best home-ice advantage

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Arash Markazi
ESPN Senior Writer

LAS VEGAS — Late in the third period of the Vegas Golden Knights‘ first Stanley Cup playoff game, a message flashed on the video board at T-Mobile Arena asking fans to make noise depending on who they were.

Make noise if you’re male … make noise if you’re female. Make noise if you’re married … make noise if you’re single.

The roars from the crowd were fairly even for both — until it got to the last one.

Make noise if you’re a tourist … make noise if you’re a local.

There is perhaps no greater distinction for the residents of this city than “tourist or local.” After all, no city is as identified by its hotels and tourists as Las Vegas. Think of all the great Las Vegas-centric movies you have ever seen. From “The Hangover” to “Ocean’s Eleven,” there is a good chance the stars of the film were out-of-towners making bad decisions in Sin City. The sense from those who never venture off The Strip is that locals are simply comprised of card dealers and cocktail waitresses who buy their groceries at Caesars Palace and the Bellagio.

But Las Vegas is a real community with real locals and real families who live real lives far from the bright lights of South Las Vegas Blvd. — and that was on display during the Golden Knights’ first postseason win against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.

Only two teams won more games at home than Vegas during the regular season, but despite playing in front of sold-out home crowds all season, the stands were often filled with as many (or more) fans from the visiting teams. Weekend games against the likes of Detroit, Boston, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Calgary led to The Strip and surrounding casinos being flooded with jerseys of the opposing team.

That was not the case Wednesday when The Park Las Vegas — an outdoor area lined with trees, waterfalls and restaurants that sits between the New York-New York and Park MGM hotels — was crowded with Golden Knights fans walking the pathway that leads directly to T-Mobile Arena. Outside the arena, Toshiba Plaza, a two-acre area in front of T-Mobile Arena, was filled with more Golden Knights fans getting free Golden Knights tattoos, wearing black and gold face paint, taking pictures with Vegas showgirls and dancing to a concert from Grammy-nominated rapper Logic.

This was a local party surprisingly devoid of Los Angeles fans, which was by design. The Golden Knights enrolled all their full-season-ticket holders in a program that prohibits them from reselling their playoff tickets on the secondary market. In exchange for vowing not to resell, the fans will pay less for tickets than fans who opt out. The team is calling the program the “Knights Vow.”

“We’re a destination city. During the regular season, it was a big part of our event experience. But the Stanley Cup playoffs, that’s a different time,” Vegas team president Kerry Bubolz told ESPN. “We want to do what we can to support the hockey side of our organization.”

The result Wednesday was a crowd of 18,479, the largest in team history, and perhaps the largest collection of local fans the team has had all season at a home game. While the team admits it will make less money with this strategy, it is a small price to pay for developing what could become one of the best home-ice advantages in the NHL during the postseason.

“I think that’s the loudest I’ve heard this building,” said Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. “It was rocking. There was great intensity right from the start. The atmosphere in the building was awesome.”

The on-ice pregame show included a battle scene seemingly out “Game of Thrones” as a Golden Knight slayed a King at center ice before Vegas players stormed through an oversized Golden Knights helmet lowered from the rafters as the crowd stood and waved towels. There have been some wild pregame ceremonies in hockey, but this was arguably the craziest.

READ FULL STORY: http://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/23141603/2018-stanley-cup-playoffs-how-vegas-golden-knights-developed-nhl-best-home-ice-advantage-postseason

 

 

 

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Blink-182 Assume Classic Rock Mantle With Las Vegas Residency

Blink-182 are bringing “The Rock Show” to Las Vegas with their 16-date “Kings of the Weekend” residency at the Palms Casino Resort’s Pearl Concert Theater, which takes place on select weekends from May 26 through November 17.

“When the Palms asked us to do a residency here in Vegas, we said ‘Absolutely!’” singer and bassist Mark Hoppus said in a statement. “Now, we just have to cast our showgirls, create our set list — a true throwback of Vegas classics with Sinatra, Liberace. Maybe we can even marry someone on stage … The possibilities in Vegas are endless.”

With their extended stay in Sin City, the snotty pop-punk trio — composed of Hoppus, drummer Travis Barker and singer/guitarist Matt Skiba — follow in the footsteps of countless classic rock bands, from The Who to Guns N’ Roses, as well as pop stars like Britney Spears and country icons like Shania Twain. Celine Dion effectively kicked off the residency trend with her A New Day… engagement, which ran from 2003 to 2007 at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace and grossed over $385 million, becoming the most successful residency of all time.

Blink-182 topped the Billboard 200 albums chart with their latest album, California (their first without founding guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge), and played a slew of U.S. amphitheater and festival dates throughout 2016 and 2017 on the accompanying tour. They’ve scored several multiplatinum albums over the course of their nearly 25-year career, and the “Kings of the Weekend” residency finds them transitioning into, essentially, a classic rock act.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, either: It reduces the rigors of the road for the band while allowing them to charge more money for tickets and potentially customize each show, treating hardcore fans to a deep dive through their discography. At the very least, it’ll give nostalgic tourists the chance to wail “All the Small Things” at the top of their lungs one more time.

Tickets for Blink-182’s “Kings of the Weekend” residency go on sale to the general public on Friday and can be purchased on the band’s website.

READ FULL ARTICLE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bryanrolli/2018/03/19/blink-182-las-vegas-residency/#20c07c012ed5

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What’s happening in Vegas is turning the hockey world on its head

With 15 games left in the regular season, including their KeyBankCenter debut at 1 p.m. today against the Sabres, the Vegas Golden Knights have become one of the favorites to reach the Stanley Cup Final. In their first year of existence.

Even the hockey gods think that’s a bit crazy.

If you’ve been wallowing in the Sabres season and have missed the Vegas story, here’s the recap:

The first-year team got off to a hot start, going 8-3-0 in October. Impressive, but the hockey world wondered if the Golden Knights could keep up all that winning.

Turns out they could.

They went 11-1-1 in December, had an eight-game winning streak carry over to the new year, and arrive in Buffalo with four players hitting the 60-point mark for the season.

For contrast, the Sabres have only two players in the 50-point club – Jack Eichel with 53 and Ryan O’Reilly with 50.

Leading the Golden Knights is center Jonathan Marchessault with 65 points, while William Karlsson, Randy Smith, and David Perron all have 60. All were chosen in the expansion draft. All had some NHL experience.  All were looking for a place to call home.

“You look at the players they have and the depth that they have,” O’Reilly said. “They’re bringing on all these guys with a lot of them coming from successful teams. They’re all veteran players that have been around and when you bring a group like that together, you see how they’ve done, how consistent they are and how they found a way to work. I didn’t expect them to be at the top but you expect them to be at least competing every night and what they’ve done is very impressive.”

The majority of the Vegas roster is comprised of players from the expansion draft, players left unprotected by their former teams. If you think that means there’s a group of players who came together with a chip on their shoulder, Marchessault said you’d be right.

“Yeah, sure. Everybody was part of an organization that they didn’t protect you and didn’t necessarily want you,” Marchessault said Friday after Vegas practiced in KeyBank Center. “It’s definitely hard to take, but it’s a hard business also. You’re never safe. Everybody wants to be part of history, wants to be part of something great. We came in with the same mentality. We wanted to win games.”

And win games they have.

Vegas has run away with the Pacific Division and is in second place in the Western Conference at 43-19-5. Should the Golden Knights win today, they will set the record for most road wins by an expansion club with 20, breaking the mark of 19 set by Anaheim in the 1993-94 season.

“I was (surprised) a little bit early on, like if they could maintain that throughout the year,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “They’ve done a terrific job. You put together their speed and transition and their work level, I think that’s one of the biggest things in their identity is that they work. If you put work and speed together, that’s a deadly combination.”

Hard work has been the core identity of the Golden Knights. Because along with that chip on their shoulders, the players in Vegas realize what they achieve collectively is larger than what they are individually.

READ FULL STORY: http://buffalonews.com/2018/03/09/what-happens-in-vegas-is-turning-the-hockey-world-on-its-head/

 


 

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What to Do in Las Vegas in March 2018

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Here’s what’s happening this month.

Opium at The Cosmopolitan…It’s not what it sounds like. On March 13, the hotel will debut a new experience from Spiegelworld (the creators of Absinthe), called Opium. The website promises comedy, live funk music, and “space travel”—basically, it’s about as Vegas as it gets. You can buy your tickets here.

Have Dinner at China TangThe Hong Kong-based restaurant’s first U.S. installation officially opened its doors on February 16, 2018, during Lunar New Year. Housed in the MGM Grand, Eaterhas already praised China Tang for its “authentic ingredients” and “high standard of service.” Plus, the decor comes with a 1930s Shanghai vibe, and the restaurant specially imported a duck roasting oven straight from China. Sold.

Bellagio Gallery of Fine ArtArt and history buffs should head to the Bellagio during their trip. The on-site gallery’s latest exhibition features over 50 pieces of Samurai armor, some of which date back a few centuries. The show runs until April 29, 2018, and you can buy tickets here. Afterwards, grab a drink at Hyde, which has front-row seats to the Bellagio fountains.

Level UpOn March 22, Vegas will debut its first E-Sports Arena at MGM Resorts International’s Luxor Hotel and Casino. The 30,000 square foot space comes complete with a 50-foot video wall, competition stage, gaming stations, and a production studio—think of it as the ultimate arcade. If you get hungry, the complex has next-level food and drinks, thanks to a partnership with Chef José Andrés‘s ThinkFoodGroup. The menu will be inspired by gaming: Considering the inventive cuisine at Andrés’s other Vegas installments (Bazaar Meat, é by José Andrés, China Poblano, Jaleo), it’ll probably be delicious.

Concerts and ComedyIf all else fails, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of shows happening in Vegas each month. The March lineup includes Elton John and Jerry Seinfeld—you can check out a more comprehensive list of shows here.

READ ARTICLE AT CONDE NAST: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/what-to-do-in-las-vegas-this-month

 


 

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Watch NASCAR at Las Vegas: Odds, start time, TV schedule, live stream, standings

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads out west to Las Vegas on Sunday for the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube, the third race of the 2018 season. Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick have already clinched their playoff spots, but who’s going to hit it big in Vegas?

One driver with high hopes of clinching a spot Sunday is 2017 Cup champ and defending track winner Martin Truex Jr. Not only did Truex win the race last year, but he swept all three stages as well. He’s the only driver ever to do it, and a repeat performance would help build on his current position of seventh in the standings.

“No question we had some special moments in Las Vegas last year,” Truex said, via a NASCAR press release. “The victory was a confidence booster to our team. It not only took the pressure off for making the playoffs, but it also showed that we had some strength at the mile-and-a-half tracks.”

Another champion looking to bolster his playoff hopes on Sunday is seven-time title winner Jimmie Johnson. The No. 48 driver is the last to win consecutive races at Las Vegas, taking the checkered flag three straight times from 2005 to 2007. He also won the race in 2010. However, 2018 has not been a hot start for Johnson, who has been plagued by crashes to start the season. Johnson enters the race 35th in the standings.

It wouldn’t be a Las Vegas trip without talking about the hometown drivers either. Kyle and Kurt Busch always show up to compete at the 1.5-mile track. Both own a pair of pole positions, and Kyle has two top-five finishes in his last four starts. As for Kurt, his best finish in the race is third and he has only had two top-10s in his last 11 races there.

This season is all about the next generation of NASCAR and one of those next-gen drivers to look out for on Sunday is Cole Custer. The 20-year-old will be making his Cup Series debut for Rick Ware Racing, driving the No. 51 Ford Fusion that Justin Marks earned 12th-place in at Daytona. Custer won the 2017 Xfinity Series closer at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season and has won twice in the Truck Series.

“This is a dream come true,” Custer said of his Monster Energy Series opportunity, via a NASCAR press release. “It’s going to be a new experience for me, but I feel that we can have a productive day by completing all the laps and seeing the checkered flag.”

How to watch the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube

Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Date: Sunday, March 4
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Length: 267 laps/400.5 miles
Stage 1: Ends on lap 80
Stage 2: Ends on lap 160
Final stage: Scheduled for lap 267
TV: Fox
Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

How to watch the NASCAR Xfinity Series Boyd Gaming 300

Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Date: Saturday, March 3
Time: 4 p.m. ET
Length: 200 laps/300 miles
Stage 1: Ends on lap 45
Stage 2: Ends on lap 90
Final stage: Scheduled for lap 200
TV: FS1
Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

How to watch the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Stratosphere 200

Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Date: Friday, March 2
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Length: 134 laps/201 miles
Stage 1: Ends on lap 30
Stage 2: Ends on lap 60
Final stage: Scheduled for lap 134
TV: FS1
Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)

READ FULL ARTICLE: https://www.cbssports.com/general/news/watch-nascar-at-las-vegas-odds-start-time-tv-schedule-live-stream-standings/

 


 

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