Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights made history in their first year in the National Hockey League (NHL) when they reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2018. It was a remarkable feat for a team that had only been in existence for a few months. However, their success was not limited to that single season. The following year, they once again proved themselves to be a dominant force in the league, finishing at the top of their division and securing a playoff spot. But despite their impressive regular season record, the Golden Knights fell short in the playoffs. How did this team go from miraculous underdogs to postseason disappointments? This article will explore the two contrasting seasons of the Vegas Golden Knights, analyzing their regular season and playoff performances and what it means for the team moving forward.
Regular Season Success
In their inaugural season, the Vegas Golden Knights shocked the world with their incredible run to the Stanley Cup Finals. It was a storybook season for the expansion team, going from being written off as bottom-dwellers to being hailed as one of the best teams in the league. Led by then-head coach Gerard Gallant and star players like William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault, the Golden Knights quickly became a fan favorite and captured the hearts of hockey fans all over the world.
The following year, the Golden Knights showed that their success was not a fluke. They dominated the regular season, finishing with a record of 43-32-7 and clinching a playoff spot once again. They were a top team in the league, ranked in the top ten in various categories such as goals scored, goals against, power play percentage and penalty kill percentage. It seemed like the perfect setup for another deep playoff run.
However, despite having such a strong regular season performance, the Golden Knights were unable to replicate their success in the playoffs.
In both their playoff runs, the Golden Knights were eliminated in the first round. In 2018, they were defeated by the Washington Capitals in five games, and in 2019, they were swept by the San Jose Sharks. Both series proved to be devastating for the team and their fans, especially after such a promising regular season.
So, what went wrong for the Golden Knights in the playoffs? There are a few factors that may have contributed to their early exits. One possible explanation is the pressure of living up to their success in their inaugural season. The expectations were high for the Golden Knights, and many viewed them as contenders for the Stanley Cup. This pressure could have affected the players’ performances and caused them to underperform in the playoffs.
Another factor that may have played a role is the level of competition in the playoffs. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are known for being a whole different beast compared to the regular season. Teams become tighter defensively, and the physicality and intensity of the games increase. The Golden Knights may not have been prepared or equipped to handle the changes in the playoffs, leading to their struggles.
Lastly, injuries and fatigue could have played a part in the Golden Knights’ playoff disappointments. Injuries to key players like Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone could have weakened the team and disrupted their chemistry. Additionally, playing a full season and then diving straight into the playoffs takes a toll on players, both physically and mentally, which could have affected their performance.
Despite their early playoff exits, the Golden Knights still have a talented team and are in a great position to bounce back in the upcoming season. They have made some changes in the offseason, including hiring a new head coach in Peter DeBoer and acquiring standout defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. These changes could help address some of the issues that the team faced in the playoffs, and with a fresh start, the Golden Knights could have a promising future.
The Vegas Golden Knights have had two drastically different seasons in their short existence in the NHL. From being underdogs to playoff contenders, to dominating the regular season but faltering in the postseason, the Golden Knights have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions in just two years. However, with a talented team and a hunger for redemption, it is safe to say that the Golden Knights are a team to watch out for in the upcoming season.