During the course of a long season, we often look for oddities that may give us clues towards how a particular game might go. Things like back-to-backs, first game off a long road trip, odd start times, basically anything abnormal from a standard NHL game.
Most games don’t really have anything, occasionally a game will have one, tonight’s game against the Stars is ripe with them.
It’s no secret the Golden Knights are dominant at T-Mobile Arena. 9-1-0 on home ice is the best in the league. It can be attributed to many different reasons including the great play of the home team, but one that can never be overlooked is VegasFlu.
We define VegasFlu as anything that causes a team to differentiate from their normal routine. That can mean partying until four in the morning the night before the game, or it can even mean purposely staying in the hotel to stay away from the temptations Vegas offers. It can also be something as simple as inconspicuous as spending an extra hour at team dinner.
Some teams travel early to try an get it out of the way. Others wait until the last minute to get to Vegas. While some try and fall in between. VegasFlu means it’s in their heads, and special precautions are taken. With the Dallas Stars, it’s no different.
I’ll tell you after. We’ll see. We’ve heard the stories, and we just don’t want to be any of the stories. Other than a win. –Ken Hitchcock, Stars Head Coach on coming to Las Vegas
This quote is the definition of VegasFlu. Coming to Vegas is just a bit different, everyone knows it, and no one has quite figured out the antidote.
Adding to the abnormality of traveling to Vegas, the Stars are beginning their annual Dad’s Trip in which a group of player’s fathers and mentors travel along with the team.
Normally this is a huge boost for a team as they tend to play a little bit harder in front of their most important figures. However, with Vegas as the first stop, it may end up being a distraction more than a benefit.
I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum there. Obviously with the dads in the stands you want to perform for them and get the win, it makes it more fun for them. But there’s the other side where you don’t want to bring a loss and let that get in the way of their trip. -Deryk Engelland
It’s just another thing for the Stars to be thinking about on their first regular season trip to Vegas.
Not newbies to T-Mobile Arena
This isn’t the first trip to Vegas to play at T-Mobile Arena for the Dallas Stars. Last year the Stars came to Vegas to play in one of the final Frozen Fury games.
In theory, this should be a positive for Dallas as they won’t be experiencing Vegas on a “business trip” for the first time, but the other two teams who played in Frozen Fury that have been back for a regular season game haven’t fared too well. Colorado got run out of the building and Los Angeles was forced to pull their goalie 11 minutes in.
Playing the Golden Knights again
The Stars are just the second team the Golden Knights have seen before in the regular season. The first was the Coyotes (which Vegas has now played three times). The Golden Knights are 2-0 in those games, but there’s no doubt Arizona and Dallas are a bit of a different animal.
Vegas took it on the chin a bit in Dallas but were able to get a masterful game from Marc-Andre Fleury and two heroic goals by James Neal. The Stars, unlike most teams, know what they are up against playing the Golden Knights, something coach Gallant downplayed this afternoon.
Sure you go back and watch the game and see what worked and what didn’t work… but every team knows the team that they are playing and they know what the systems are. It’s a matter of who can execute the systems. -Gerard Gallant
So you don’t buy that there’s no book on your team? -SinBin.vegas
Not a chance. No. When people talk about our team they know that we are a team that’s quick and we compete. -Gallant
Coach may not want to believe it, but we saw the reactions on the Stars’ players faces on October 6th when they became the expansion team’s first victim. It was a look of embarrassment, and there’s no doubt they want that one back.
Hockey Fights Cancer night
Before the game, current pediatric cancer patients and survivors from the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation will take the ice to line up with Golden Knights players during the national anthem. -Golden Knights Press Release
Timing is just a bit different prior to games that have pre-game ceremonies. Some teams handle it well, others do not.
Vegas has played in four games (by our count) that have had some sort of ceremony prior to the game. Opening night in Dallas, opening night in Arizona, the emotional pre-game before the first game at T-Mobile Arena, and a pre-game ceremony honoring Antoine Vermette’s 1,000th game.
In those games, the Golden Knights are a perfect 4-0. However, in only one of them did they score a goal in the first period.
There’s so much at play here that can be read into as a positive or negative for either side. No one has any clue how it will play out tonight, but there are plenty of storylines to follow, which always makes for an enjoyable game.