Last year? We’re better, I think we’re a better team. -Jonathan Marchessault
Best inaugural season ever, 109 points, 29-10-2 at home, Pacific Division Champions, Western Conference Champions, you know it all, I just type it because it’s fun to remember, so let’s keep going…
They won eight of the first nine in franchise history and never lost more than three in a row until the final four games of the year. They had a 13-game point streak mostly during a 12-1-1 month of December. They put up five five-game win streaks including two in the playoffs and went 13-3 in the first 16 playoff games.
What I’m trying to say is the 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights were damn good, yet, one of their best players is not afraid to say this team is better.
And, he’s probably right.
I went around the locker room asking players and the head coach the exact same question. “Do you think your team now is as good as they were at any point last year?”
Many guys kind of danced around the question saying last year is last year, but you could tell, the insinuation that this team is as good, if not better, wasn’t a crazy thought.
I like this team. The parity around the league is good, there’s no easy night, but I always feel confident that we have a good chance to win. -Marc-Andre Fleury
We have a lot of similarities and we are striving to play as well as we did last year, are we there yet, I don’t know. -Bellemare
The most direct, before I spoke to Marchessault, was from Alex Tuch, who didn’t hesitate when he said. “Yeah, I really do believe so.” He couldn’t really put into words how or why (mainly because he didn’t want to disparage anyone from last year’s team, understandably), but you could tell he believed it.
Then there was the head coach.
Yeah, there’s no doubt in my mind we can be as good as we were last year, so yeah I guess the answer is yes. -Gerard Gallant
The current Golden Knights are on a 19-4-3 run since Nate Schmidt returned to the lineup, are currently on a seven-game win and ten game point streak, and have found themselves tied or within a point or two of the Pacific Division lead for the last few weeks. Yet through it all they’ve been without multiple key pieces.
Nate Schmidt missed 20 games, Paul Stastny was out for two months, Max Pacioretty has been in and out of the lineup, Alex Tuch missed time, Erik Haula might be out for the year, Colin Miller has been out for the last seven games, all in all, the Golden Knights have not played a single game with their entire roster (and have only played one missing just one normal starter).
The Golden Knights have played more than half the season missing a player in both their top-six forwards AND a player in their top-four defensemen. Even during the recent seven-game run, Colin Miller has missed it all and Max Pacioretty missed four of the games and Reilly Smith one.
The depth of our team, the confidence that we have, the way we play together. People always said last year, you need time to play with players and get chemistry and it was true. So we are better because we know everybody now, and we are playing the right way, and we play to each others team. We are a good team, we are confident. -Marchessault
Last year I was given a hard time by a lot of people because I said, “if the Golden Knights play well, no one can beat them.” Well, for the first time all year, I feel that way again. I’d love to see the Tampa Bay Lightning and Golden Knights go at it again to prove that statement definitively against all 30 of the other teams, but for 29, I feel confident saying it.
The Golden Knights are really good once again, easily among the top teams in the league, yet still aren’t getting the credit they probably deserve nationally. It’s deja vu, except this year they might be even more wrong than they were last.