LAS VEGAS -- The Vegas Golden Knights returned home early Monday from a four-game East Coast road trip with the best record in the NHL.
Not bad for an expansion team. But don't try telling that to head coach Gerard Gallant, who has openly threatened to fine players who even mention the word "playoffs" in the locker room.
"I don't worry about having the best record in the NHL, I worry about the next game," said Gallant, whose team hosts Columbus on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena. "We know where we are. We're not going to change a thing. It's one game at a time and keep playing hard. There's still a ways to go."
Vegas (31-11-4) has made a mockery of NHL records in its inaugural season. And if the Golden Knights can win their two home games this week, where they're a league-best 18-2-2 (they also host the New York Islanders on Thursday), they can tie the record for most wins (33) by an expansion team before the All-Star break.
That record was accomplished by Anaheim and Florida in 84 games in 1993-94. For those keeping score, Tuesday night's first-ever meeting with the Blue Jackets (26-18-3) will be just game No. 47 for Vegas.
"It means we're playing some great hockey, that's for sure," left winger James Neal said after scoring his 21st goal of the season in a 5-1 win at Carolina on Sunday. "We're consistent. It's hard to do in this league. …
"There's a lot of great teams in this league, and it's a challenge every night. We're up for that challenge each and every game, and that's probably the most impressive part of our club."
The next challenge will be a Columbus squad coming off a four-day break after a 2-1 shootout win over visiting Dallas last Thursday. The Blue Jackets spent the last three days in Las Vegas, where they took a day off to see the sights but practiced twice, including Monday at T-Mobile Arena.
Coverage of Blue Jackets at Golden Knights begins at 9:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Ohio
"We've practiced very well the last few days," Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "I guess this building is just alive. We're looking forward for the opportunity to play here tomorrow night."
Tortorella was asked about the challenge of trying to defeat a Vegas team that has lost just twice so far in 22 home games.
"I think it's a challenge every night against any team," Tortorella said. "I guess there's a little bit more of a light shed on this one here because I guess everybody's a little surprised by how good they are.
"From all indications, the building has just been fantastic for them, too, (and) the support, and rightfully so. They don't lose. We're going to go about our business and try to enjoy the moment and try and find a way."
Blue Jackets left winger Matt Calvert said, "I think they're sitting in first place in the NHL, so it's going to be a great test for us. I think expectations for them weren't this high, but they're obviously rolling right now. I think we have to focus on our start and go from there."