At the end of the NHL regular season when teams are planning for the postseason or the golf course, it’s unlikely for the players, coaches and managers to huddle around and go over how they reached their fate. For losing clubs, it’s a quick clean out of their lockers and get out of dodge to their summer destinations. For the fortunate 16, they’re preparing for a potentially long run in the playoffs. However, for prognostication purposes, it is important to note how successful teams got to their ultimate goals.
After last night’s 2-1 OT victory over the hapless Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas extended their Western Conference best record to 41 points. It wasn’t the prettiest, but a win is a win when fighting for a seat in the playoffs.
When you break down how the Golden Knights picked up their points, you’ll notice that they’re taking care of business when facing lesser competitors. This is exactly what all playoff hopefuls do throughout a long 82-game regular season. Call it bum slaying, padding stats, or anything you’d like but those points are vital to any team fighting for the postseason.
Points from Non-Contenders: (22)
- 10/13: VGK 1 vs CHI 0
- 10/25: VGK 4 @ SJ 2
- 10/28: VGK 4 vs ANA 0
- 11/03: VGK 5 @ OTT 4
- 11/05: VGK 6 @ MTL 4
- 11/10: VGK 7 @ BUF 4
- 11/17: VGK 4 vs ARI 1
- 11/21: VGK 5 @ VAN 4
- 11/23: VGK 4 vs OTT 1
- 11/28: VGK 3 @ CBJ 2
- 12/03: VGK 4 @ DET 1
- 12/08: VGK 2 vs PHI 1
Now to be fair, the Golden Knights have not taken advantage of all low-level opponents. Vegas lost three times to inferior lineups, all occurring at T-Mobile Arena. For the most part, all three were uncompetitive and the Golden Knights lost by a total of eight goals. In the trio of games, the road team scored two or more goals that went unanswered by Vegas. It’s okay to have a stinker but several at home vs sub .500 teams are wasting VGK fans’ hard-earned money. Thankfully, Jonathan Marchessault didn’t let that happen again last night in OT.
Missed Points From Non-Contenders (6)
- 11/12: STL 3 @ VGK 2
- 11/15: SJ 5 @ VGK 2
- 11/26: VAN 5 @ VGK 1
For Vegas to keep up their 104-point pace they’ll need continue bullying inept franchises crashing for Connor Bedard. Half of the teams in the NHL have roster weaknesses and are capable of exposing on a nightly basis. Through 29 games, the Golden Knights have jumped on mistakes, ill-timed penalties, poor goaltending, and turnovers. It’s been the team’s identity all season under coach Bruce Cassidy. In addition to their 22 “bum slaying” points, Vegas will have 15 more opportunities against the league’s worst to cushion their conference and divisional lead.
Now of course the NHL is a professional league with incredibly skilled players. Even the worst organizations have the ability to defeat star-studded lineups. Just ask the Boston Bruins, who lost to the Arizona Coyotes last night in Arizona. That’ll wake up a team. Hopefully, not by Sunday evening.