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Tag: Road Trip

Incredibly Difficult Road Trip Continues To Prove Golden Knights Resolve

On January 25th the clock struck 00:00 and the Golden Knights had dropped just their fifth home game of the season, again to a team in blue and orange. No one seemed particularly concerned, but just around the corner was a road trip that had all the makings of derailing what’s been a storybook season.

First the Golden Knights would get four days off for the All Star break. Then they were set to hit the road for a trip that was to span more than 7,000 miles, across three different time zones, over the course of just 10 days. To make matters worse, the six game trip featured six teams in playoff position and five teams either in first or second in their respective divisions. (You can make the argument it’s all six because technically both Calgary and San Jose were in second when the games took place).

Nothing seems to be able to stop the Golden Knights train. Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

This is a trip that is supposed to suck the life out of even the best teams. There was a back-to-back early. There was a game with a 9:30 AM Pacific start time. There was the highly emotional return of Marc-Andre Fleury to Pittsburgh. There was snow, ice, rain, and outside temps ranging from -10 to 82. Oh, and did I mention more than 7,000 miles of travel. Seven effing thousand, in a week and a half.

It was without question the most challenging portion of the Golden Knights schedule both on the ice and off it.

Yet what did the Golden Knights do with it? They went out and won four of the six games, beat three of the four teams in the Western Conference, and took eight points from a trip in which four wouldn’t have even been considered a letdown.

They used a magical comeback to kick off the trip in Calgary, followed it up with an OT win in a game between the two top teams in the Western Conference, once again knocked off the reigning President’s Trophy winners, and then put a stamp on the trip by winning their 13th division game out of 15 and maintaining a perfect record in the state of California.

Now, it’s over and the schedule looks like an absolute dream. Nine of the next 10, and 17 of the final 28 will be played at T-Mobile Arena. 10 of the last 28 feature teams with fewer points than games played (there are only seven teams that fall into that category). 17 are against teams outside of the playoffs, and finally, no team in the NHL has more home games or fewer road games left on their schedule than the Golden Knights.

And it’s all because they not only survived but thrived on one of the toughest trips any team in the NHL will take all season.

This team has been doing unprecedented things for an expansion team since they played their first game, but if the final 28 resemble the first 54, we’re going to be talking real records and real banners, not just inaugural season ones.

Gallant On Road Trip: “Thought We Deserved A Lot More Than That”

It was supposed to be just the next in a long line of tests for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. It turned out to be a six game struggle in which the Golden Knights were only able to muster up three points on a 1-4-1 record.

But according to the man behind the bench, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.

I was real happy with the way we played (on the road trip). It’s a big road trip, we played six games and we only got three points out of it. But I thought we deserved a lot more than that. We’ve played good hockey. We’ve had a few periods where we didn’t play real well but for the most part I’m real happy with the way we played and competed on the road. It was really our first test to go on the road like this and I think it’s going to help our team in the long run. -Gerard Gallant

He’s not wrong. Looking back, Vegas outplayed the Islanders, Rangers, Senators, Maple Leafs, and Canadiens for two of the three periods (and overtime in Toronto), but those bad periods were really bad and cost the Golden Knights a bunch of points they could have had on the road.

We (kind of) missed you Oscar. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Things got even more difficult right out of the gates of the road trip when Oscar Dansk went down leave the Golden Knights with Max Lagace as the only useable goalie. When all was said and done, Lagace wasn’t great, but he was certainly good enough to keep Vegas in games.

1-4-1 is what it is, and there’s not getting those points back. Now, it’s a couple days off, a quick stop at T-Mobile Arena, and then back north of the border for a pair of games with the Oilers and Canucks.

19 points. 15 games. It’s pretty good, especially for an “e-word” team, but they probably did deserve a lot more than that.

Road Trip Is Just Another Test In A Never-Ending Series Of Tests

Let’s see how they deal with the back-to-back. Let’s see what they do when they play St. Louis and Chicago. Let’s see how they play when they are expected to win a game. Now, it’s let’s see how they deal with a long road trip. This is just part of life for an expansion team, the tests never end. No matter how many they pass, and with flying colors, there will always be another one on the horizon, and with each test come doubts.

This picture is amazing. Doesn’t really fit with this story, but who cares, it’s that good. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

I have doubts on something else, the actual difficulty of this road trip. I’m done trying to compare the Golden Knights to any other team. They’ve dealt with adversity off the ice (namely injuries), adversity inside the confines of a game (blow 4-1 lead to BUF, still win in OT), and the only game they lost, they came back to win five straight.

Plus, news flash! The Golden Knights have played two games on the road… and won them both. Oh, and they faced quite a bit of adversity in those games as well.

Throughout the game, you have to make changes and make them in a hurry. From game to game you have that day or half-day, you have that extra time to do your homework. We’re a team that plays a 200 foot game and we’ve got 20 guys going, and that doesn’t change when you go on the road. -Deryk Engelland

Outplayed for 30 minutes in Dallas, they came back to win. Down a goal inside the final minute in Arizona, they came back and won.

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