Apr. 10, 2019
Vegas Is the Toughest Team to Beat in the 2019 NHL Playoffs
No, I did not bandwagon the Golden Knights. I did not start following them after their first playoff series or even when they were dominating the division. My following for the Golden Knights began after the expansion was announced, once we got to see the logos and jerseys. I instantly fell in love with the gold, silver and black combination. I have always been a huge fan of gold jersey combinations, instantly I knew I could follow. Aside from a few names on the roster, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathon Marchessault and James Neal, I didn't think this roster was going to be good enough to go as far as they did. That being said, absolutely no one did, so do not even make a comment about me not having confidence in my team. My other team which I have been following for my entire life is the New Jersey Devils. I predicted they would either be a top draft pick (like this year) or would be a first round exit (like last year). Over the course of the season I saw breakout players that I learned to love on offense, like William Karlsson (whose jersey I now own), Bellemare, Eakin, Nosek, Smith, Tuch. All of these players (some had decent seasons in the past) instantly molded in the Golden Knights system and thrived. Those names I mentioned were only on offense. I was overall impressed with how the six blue liners played night in and night out. Overall, last year while watching every single playoff game I thought they would pull off history, but they ran into the Russian Machine in Ovechkin. Nobody in the league, not even Crosby could stop Ovechkin last year as we saw.
Game 1 versus San Jose. Whatever, it happened. It was clearly fixed. We are now looking at a 3-1 series lead going back into San Jose. The new first line for Vegas is playing exactly like last year's did. Pacioretty, Stastny and Stone haven't been able to be stopped. They scored three goals in the first minute in each period in game 3, they started off with a goal around a minute in in game 4. Who is going to stop them? The Knights have put up two 5 goal games and a 6 goal game against arguably the best blue line in the league (minus goaltending). I dare someone to bring up the lack of production from Karlsson and the second line. It's hard to put up numbers when your first line has 24 points in 4 playoff games in the first round. We can't expect Vegas to put up 10 goals a game and have both lines scoring equally. I know for a FACT if the first line slows down (which is likely) the second and third lines will easily pickup the slack.
If it wasn't evident, these two teams HATE each other. A rivalry like this is similar to that of Boston and Toronto in the playoffs except they have been rivals for literally two seasons. Reaves fought Evander Kane, in a HUGE heavyweight tilt that showed what these two teams are about. Both teams are playing physical hockey. One team throws a big hit, the crowd gets into it, next thing you see is another big hit going to other way. That is what playoff hockey is all about. I hate Evander Kane, but I have nothing but respect for him dropping the gloves with Reaves to try to fire his team up. Reaves is my second favorite player on the Knights behind Karlsson, he is an absolute force every shift. I love seeing him catch semi-regular minutes. You need a guy like Reaves to help win a tough series like this. Gallant is an absolute genius and knows exactly what to do and who to put on the ice for however many minutes. So far, it is working out greatly.
I won't get cocky. If San Jose mounts this 3-1 series lead and wins (which they very well could) I will eat my words and admit I was wrong. With the way Vegas is playing, especially on their home ice is absolutely insane. I don't think they will drop more than 1-2 games at home in this entire playoff. I really believe this team is the top team in the playoffs. If they end up losing, I believe that team will face the Capitals in the cup finals.