The Golden Year For The Golden Knights

February 09, 2018 - 5:05 pm

Alright admit it, when the season started we had no idea how good the Las Vegas Golden Knights were going to be. I thought that they could compete in the Western Division, but to lead it and be in contention for the best record in the entire NHL is something completely different. Honestly, I was watching the season and asking myself when are they going to slip or when are they going to actually look like a team who has never has never played a season in the NHL. This team is defying expectations and for me I am making an early, and probably stupid, prediction that the Golden Knights will win the Stanley Cup.

Yeah I know that this makes little to no sense because it is just one person just saying something that has nothing behind it. Except, I will back it up with every point on why this is going to happen.

First, lets review the topic of how the Golden Knights are winning games. They are averaging 33 shots per game which is 10th in the NHL and that they are allowing 30 shots per game, which is 5th in the NHL. This is an important stat because this is how they win most of their games, by outshooting their opponents. In fact when they outshoot their opponents they have a record of 25-6-3, which is the best in the NHL. If things continue like this, then this will be important leading into the playoffs where sometimes defense can be a little bit relaxed.

Not only do they have the best record when it comes to outshooting opponents, but they also have the best record when scoring first. They have scored first 23 times this season and have won 22 of those games. They also have the third best record when their opponents score first, with a record of 13-12-4. The Golden Knights have always been attacking early and always making sure to play solid defense to maintain their victory. If you want to know how they do that, go back and watch the tape against the Capitals or the Lightning that they have played this season. They go toe to toe with some of the best offences in the league and can scrap it with some of the best defenses in the league.

Next we have to talk about where they are playing. I think the bigger shock of the whole thing is how much love Vegas has shown for their team. Most people were thinking that they would average 12,000 or a little more because most people thought it would be a side attraction and the locals wouldn’t like hockey. Boy, were many others and I wrong. They sellout every home games and the Golden Knights make sure that they keep coming. They are 19-3-2 at home, which makes their position as the best in the Western Conference so much more important. If they hold their position they will have home field advantage throughout the Conference side of the postseason.

Now I did leave out one part of the story when it comes to their record at home, but I left it out for this. Now they are competing for the overall best record and potentially home field advantage for the whole Stanley Cup Finals, but they don’t need to be the best. The team that they are competing with for that title is the Tampa Bay Lightning. But the problem for the Lightning is that they have lost both games against the Golden Knights this season. Now I know that the postseason brings out something different in teams, but the fact that the Golden Knights haven’t lost to the “best” team in the NHL this season will be a big momentum boost for them.

Finally, we have to give some love to their goaltender. We all know the history that Marc-Andre Fleury has in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the one thing we don’t talk about is the experience. Some members of the Golden Knights, this will be their first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so who better to learn how to control emotions better than a three time Stanley Cup Champion. Fleury’s performance this year has been nothing short of incredible. Fleury has a save percentage of around 94% this season and always seems to play some unreal hockey when the postseason hits. The Golden Knights will need their ace in the hole to make a run late in the season this year.

So, lets review for a second. The Golden Knights outshoot their opponents, play better when the score first but they can comeback from a deficit, they play amazing at home, but also can beat some of the best on the road, and they will need their leaders to lead. That’s only scratching the surface, they have amazing penalty kill defense and power play offense and that’s important going into the playoffs.

The last thing I will say about this whole thing is that this team has already broken records. They have the most wins out of any team in their expansion year in NHL history. So if they broke that record, what’s one more? They could be the first team to win the Stanley Cup in their first season.

Is this going to happen? Maybe or maybe not, but this all determines on where they are when they make the playoffs. If this team gets in the right position, they can do damage in the Stanley Cup playoffs. For right now, I will enjoy their work on the ice for the time being and be more excited about the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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