In Round 1 the Golden Knights opened the series with a pair of home games against the Kings. They used a dominant Game 1 performance to take the lead in the series and followed it up with a double overtime thriller to send the series to Los Angeles at 2-0. In Round 2 they once again started at home, again dominating Game 1 but faltering in Game 2 to head to San Jose even.
Now, no matter who the opponent will be, the Golden Knights will head on the road for the first two games of the Western Conference Finals. However, they don’t seem too terribly concerned about the lack of home-ice advantage in the series.
It may not be a bad thing to start on the road this time around. Something a little bit different. We’re going to spend the next few days trying to get ready for that first period in the next game. I’m certainly happy to be here and have the chance to do it. -George McPhee
I think we’ve played really well on the road and at home. I think our record is 4-1 in both places, is it not? So, it doesn’t really make a big difference to us. I’m not once concerned about starting on the road. I’m sort of looking forward to going somewhere. -Gallant
The Golden Knights have indeed lost just once in five tries away from Vegas. That’s even better than their regular season tally of 22-14-5 on the road. They’ve won in many different ways away from T-Mobile Arena as well. Tight checking games, overtime games, closeout games, they’ve faced it all and passed every test (except that one) with flying colors.
Obviously, you want to have home-ice advantage but to be honest we’ve shown the whole year that we are able to play a strong game on the road and our game carries on the road. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
Whether it’s Nashville or Winnipeg, the pressure will be on the home team early in the Western Conference Finals. Either way, both buildings in the series are expected to have a major impact, so the pressure of holding serve in the home games will be crucial.
Game 1 is a massive opportunity for the Golden Knights to jump on their opponent, take the crowd out of the game early, and possibly steal a road game due to the layoff between Round 2 and 3. Jack Adams finalist Gerard Gallant says the six day break between games is the perfect amount of rest to have them geared up for the next round. If they do indeed steal Game 1, they’ll basically be playing for the series in Game 2 knowing they could return home up 2-0 with three home games in the bag. That’s pressure on the home team, and the Golden Knights could exploit it.
We just have to keep playing and I hope we keep doing the same thing. That’s what’s created our success all year and there’s no reason to change now. -David Perron
But, all this being said, as McPhee mentioned, all eyes must be on Game 1.
Do you buy the “let’s just get a split on the road” mantra? -SinBin.vegas
If you think like this then you are already thinking too much about the second game. You cannot give up a piece of your mind thinking about the second game. (If you do) you are not fully focused on game number one. -Bellemare
The Golden Knights will be on a plane to either Nashville or Winnipeg on Friday morning, and from the sounds of it, they appear to almost be looking forward to the road start. Now let’s see if that confidence translates into a win or two.
Michael V Smith
You done good young man. Pressure and speed. Blow through the neutral zone. Forecheck the hell out of them.
I agree with Ken on the podcast, I think if the Knights take Game 1 they will probably take the series. They can of course do it without Game 1, but coming home down 0-2? That’s hard to believe in, honestly. I don’t like to pretend it’s over before it’s over but when you’re down 0-2 against a really good team, you’re asking your guys to win 4 out of the next 5 games and that’s very difficult. I like our chances in Game 1, though, with a tired team coming off two emotional, physical, challenging games to survive their second round matchup. I think Game 1 is the best chance to steal a game on the road for sure.
Great article, smart question for McPhee. You rarely see smart questions come out of the “main stream” sports media.