All season lengthy, we’ve been ready for the fairytale to finish in Vegas, and up to now midnight has but to come back. Had the Golden Knights drawn Anaheim or San Jose in the primary spherical of the playoffs, I’d have simply picked the Vegas facet to win; the vibes are simply too good to not consider in them.
But in Los Angeles, I see a harbinger for the Knights.
I do know, I do know; it might be a lot of enjoyable to see Vegas make a magical run through the enlargement group’s first yr of existence, however in my opinion, the Knights are gonna get a wake-up name from the Kings.
Without a doubt, the Golden Knights play quick, thrilling hockey and that’s why the received the Pacific Division throughout their maiden voyage. But below new coach John Stevens, Los Angeles performed a lot quicker this season than the squad did for earlier bench boss Darryl Sutter. Now, Sutter’s reign featured two Stanley Cup victories – so let’s not fake he was some incompetent rube holding the group again. But the NHL modified and Sutter didn’t, therefore his ouster. But these years of success taught the Kings methods to win and after barely lacking the playoffs final yr, Los Angeles is again to wanting like these harmful Kings of previous.
Think about it: champions are solid by having power on the prime. You can not win a Cup with out a dominant No. 1 heart and Los Angeles has one in Anze Kopitar. He would possibly win the Selke and he’ll in all probability get some Hart votes as nicely. The Kings even have a Norris Trophy favourite in Drew Doughty on the blueline and one of the vital intimidating goalies in the world in Jonathan Quick. All the weather are there.
In Vegas, now we have a beguiling group that has re-written the rule ebook on the fly. Sure, Marc-Andre Fleury is a reliable No. 1 netminder and Cup winner himself, however in any other case the Golden Knights are a collective the likes now we have hardly ever ever seen in the NHL.
Do they’ve a dominant No. 1 heart? Well, William Karlsson scored 43 targets this season, so I suppose it might be unfair to not take into account him in that dialog, particularly since he was additionally a stable possession participant and one of many NHL’s leaders in takeaways. The Knights had three different gamers with 60 factors or extra (Jonathan Marchessault, David Perron and Reilly Smith), so clearly depth of scoring just isn’t a difficulty.
On protection, the Knights do not need a star and whereas I’m not saying that might be the precise motive for his or her downfall, it doesn’t assist. Again, the collective has been glorious this season, however the playoffs are a completely different beast.
I additionally assume that the Kings shall be resistant to the ‘Vegas flu.’ I imply, they play in Los Angeles: distractions are in every single place in that city and the Kings have been profitable nonetheless. Head-to-head, the Kings had been 1-1 when travelling to Vegas and the loss got here on the second evening of a back-to-back. It’s additionally price noting that Los Angeles received the previous two conferences between the 2 groups.
Given how magical this season has been for Vegas, a playoff run wouldn’t shock anyone at this level – I get that. But once I have a look at all of the expertise and expertise the Kings convey to the post-season, it’s simply arduous for me to wager towards Los Angeles.