It was the perfect road trip for the Golden Knights last week along the Eastern Seaboard. Winning in Boston, New Jersey, and two in New York sent a loud message across the league. Vegas’ four-game sweep had some hiccups but collecting eight points was all that mattered. Three of their opponents were openly impressed by how the Golden Knights found ways to win.
They’re a legit, deep, big, fast, well-coached hockey team. A good sign for us. We measured up against a pretty good hockey team. -Barry Trotz, NYI coach
The Cup-winning coach knows Vegas well, and has had some success against them. We’re all aware of Trotz and the Capitals eliminating the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals but the results have been different in the regular season.
Outside of the postseason the current New York Islanders coach is 2-5-1 against Vegas. However, most games were tight and Trotz’ players were always prepared.
We played composed, we played with some urgency when we were down a goal to come back like this against a team like Vegas that keeps pressing. I thought we did a really good job tonight to come back and get the lead. It’s unfortunate to give up a goal at the end like this and lose that point. -Jean-Gabriel Pageau, NYI forward
The Islanders forced the Golden Knights into a hard-fought 60 minutes. Vegas’ skill and speed stood out to the Islanders, and specifically some of their quicker players.
You watch [Stephenson] play now, there’s no governor and he realizes it. He’s got himself to the next level. And he’s a good player. -Trotz
Vegas was sharp for several periods in New York and were hampered in others, but it never cost them in the end. Against the Rangers, the Golden Knights were completely in control of the game after the opening 20 minutes, but the remaining 40 were challenging.
I came in after the 2nd and I just said, ‘You know what? If we match that period again, boys, there’s no contest. We’re going to win this game.’ -Gerard Gallant, NYR coach
Of course, Gallant had a response for Vegas but his team couldn’t close the door at home.
You don’t need everything from one or two guys. You need a little bit more from everyone, and I felt like we did that [against the Golden Knights]. -Mika Zibanejad, NYR center
The Islanders and Rangers equaled the Golden Knights’ intensity but in the end, only walked away with one point each. Whereas, the Bruins and Devils weren’t as lucky.
Across the Hudson, the Golden Knights controlled the game for 50 out of the 60 minutes played. Initially, it looked like an easy multiple-goal victory but New Jersey threatened towards the end. Luckily for Vegas, the clock expired before it got any dicier.
We were definitely making a push in the 3rd period. We’ve lost more than we would have liked lately, but there are stretches of the games where we’re playing well, and I think we got to capitalize a little more, or bear down a little bit more defensively. -Jimmy Vesey, NJD forward
During postgame interviews, the only team that sounded disappointed after losing to the Golden Knights was the Devils. Even Vegas coach Pete DeBoer wasn’t thrilled with his team’s 5-3 victory but he gladly left New Jersey with two points. As he was when leaving the other three arenas.
No matter how the game was decided opponents harmoniously agreed the Golden Knights are a serious threat to win the Stanley Cup. Also, some teams used their matchup with Vegas as a measuring stick type game. That’s a compliment in itself.