When last season began, people thought very little of the newly founded Vegas Golden Knights. Yet, it didn’t take long for everyone to take notice.
The Golden Knights making the playoffs last season was shock enough for most. They, however, brought the surprises to an even higher level. Last season, they set a high bar for themselves by winning the Pacific Division title in their inaugural season. The Division title was not enough for the squad as they pushed all the way through the postseason to win the Western Conference and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Ultimately, they fell short to a Stanley Cup thirsty Washington Capitals team.
Even with the 4-1 series loss in the final, the Golden Knights had little to hang their heads over. This was a brand new team, filled with people who had never played together before. Them bringing their story all the way to the Stanley Cup Final had definitely set a very high bar for the team this season. The Golden Knights, however, are not the same team they were last year.
The 2018-19 Golden Knights…
Now that is not to say that this team is not loaded with talent, because they are. Though they did lose James Neal this past off-season when he signed with current leader of the Pacific, the Calgary Flames. For their loss, they had quite the gain. Prior to the start of the 2018-19 campaign, the Golden Knights traded Tomas Tatar to the Montreal Canadiens for Max Pacioretty. Through 24 games played with the Golden Knights this year, Pacioretty has 15 points. While his 15 points do make an impact, the Golden Knights team is playing better hockey as a whole as of late.
Prior to the Golden Knights’ 2-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 1, they had won five straight contests in which they scored 23 goals. Through their last 10, the Golden Knights are 7-3-0 and sit at 29 points just outside of the last wild card slot with plenty of time to go. As previously stated, the Flames currently lead the Pacific Division with 34 points, putting them five games above the Golden Knights for first. The Anaheim Ducks hold second place with 33 points and the San Jose Sharks hold third with 31.
Do the math and they sit one win back of the Sharks for third place in the division. In addition, they are two wins back of the Ducks for second and two and a half back of the Flames for first. The Golden Knights may seem down from last year, but they are most certainly not out.
Up next for the Golden Knights is a contest against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals on Dec. 4.
stats from NHL.com