Last season on December 23rd, the Golden Knights lost their second game in a row, and third of their final four before the Christmas break. This year, Vegas lost again on December 23rd.
You have to stay focused on Christmas break and like I said, I wasn’t disappointed with our team tonight, but I have to give credit to Montreal. They came in here and played a hard game, a competitive game, all the things that we talk about being first on pucks… but again I’m disappointed in losing, but I’m pretty happy with that one point… Gallant-12/22/18
… it’s Christmas time and it just seemed like the last two games we had no jump, no energy and probably a lot of family in town and you’ve got to be focused to play in the NHL and play well every night and to me it didn’t look like we were focused enough.-Gallant, 12/23/18
The coach was a little bit lighter this holiday season after their 7-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
I don’t think that it was that. We looked tired. We looked mentally tired, to me. We just didn’t look like we had the same jump. We’ve played really good hockey lately and tonight was a game that I wanted to play a lot better against the team that beat us here pretty good last time and it just didn’t happen.- Gallant, 12/23/19
The numbers don’t lie.
The final three games before last season’s Christmas break, Vegas was 1-0-2, this season they were 1-1-1. The question is, are the players fully focused this time of year? Or is it just coincidental? Either way, the coach was happy with the timing of the holiday break.
Big time. Yeah, it’s a great break. We played a lot of hockey. We had a lot of travel and I’m sure the guys are tired so it’s a great point, they have three days off and we’ll get back at it after Christmas. -Gallant, 12/23/19
Could it be as simple as being distracted by family members traveling in for the Holidays, or the stress of getting all their Christmas shopping done? Gallant seemed to think so last year, and it sure looks like the same can be said 365 days later. Looking ahead to the break can be dangerous for a team looking to pick up standing points. However, there’s a second trend that comes along with the three days off. Vegas tends to play like they got everything on their Christmas list.
Beginning on December 27th, 2018, the Golden Knights rattled off a seven-game win streak. Over an 11-game stretch after the Christmas break Vegas won nine of them. In 24 days, the 2018-19 Golden Knights added 18 points in the standings, going from 44 before Christmas, and 62 points on January 19th.
Can the post-Christmas trend continue this season? Well the scheduled is set up that way.
Over their next eight games, Vegas plays seven at home and four against Pacific Division teams. Historically, the Golden Knights are absurdly good in their division and should stack some points playing Anaheim twice and LA once. On paper, that should be an easy six points for Vegas.
But, of course, the games aren’t played on paper.