The Vegas Golden Knights finished the regular season 2nd in the NHL only to the divisional foe Colorado Avalanche. Even though both were tied with 82 points and Vegas held 1 additional win, the regulation win tie-breaker tipped its hand to Colorado for the top seed in the postseason as well as the President’s Trophy.
Fret not Golden Knights fans – the President’s Trophy is not a guaranteed first class ticket to the Stanley Cup. Only two of the past 18 winners have gone on to with the Stanley Cup with the last being the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks.
For the Golden Knights, the road most assuredly became harder with having to get through the Minnesota Wild first before the juggernaut matchup with the Avalanche in the second round. While having to face the Wild first isn’t entirely ideal, the Golden Knights have a few advantages against the only team that had a winning percentage against them during the regular season.
The regular season is over. Sometimes “cliche” but in many ways when the calendar crosses over into the postseason, the one ice battles are a whole new animal. While Minnesota gave everyone in the division not named Colorado fits in the regular season, the calendar changeover may just be what the doctor ordered for Vegas to right the ship against them.
The Golden Knights offensive firepower and the Vezina caliber star in net with Marc-Andre Fluery is going to be a big test for Minnesota while the big physical style of hockey that the Wild display along with the offensive brilliance of Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello can provide a solid counter. It will likely come down to the how the offensive guns and depth players under the Vegas’ top line show up on the scoresheet to determine this series. While a key player in Max Pacioretty is still uncertain for game 1, Vegas is no longer hindered by the salary cap and will have more flexibility for lineup additions and help for the group. For Minnesota, they need to have Cam Talbot return to form as the final stretch of the regular season has not been kind.
Either way, any expectations of a quick exit and dispatch of the Wild should not be expected. This is going to be a grueling battle that has all the ingredients of being a 7 game series.
It’s time to KNIGHT UP!Embed from Getty Images