Last night the Golden Knights beat the Avalanche 5-2 at T-Mobile Arena. Vegas cemented its spot atop the West Division, added a fourth win against their chief rival this season, and extended a winning streak that has reached double-digits for the first time in franchise history.
No matter what anyone says, nothing can, or will, take any of that away. However, that doesn’t mean people aren’t still going to say it, nor does it mean those people don’t have a point.
Missing their starting and backup goalies (Grubauer and Francouz), their second best player and one of the best the NHL (Rantanen), two more top-six forwards (Donskoi and Saad), a few depth forwards (O’Connor and Calvert), and two starting defensemen (Johnson and Byram), the Colorado team Vegas faced last night is a shell of the team the Avs expect to bring into the playoffs.
The Golden Knights went out and won the game nonetheless. It doesn’t change the six-point gap between the teams in the standings, and it certainly didn’t hinder Vegas’ chance to lift the Stanley Cup later this year.
But, all of that aside, it does need to be said, and that’s why you heard it from fans of both teams, from media, and even from those who played and coached in the game.
Getting the two points and creating the separation is huge for us. I mean they still had some key guys out of the lineup, we’re missing guys too, but we dug in, Flower made some big saves and we got some timely goals. -Mark Stone
We’re in a good position right now however we know we have to play better when they have their full lineup. -Max Pacioretty
Both teams, if you look at the list of guys missing from the lineup, could change their lineups dramatically, especially the depth of the lineups. -Pete DeBoer
Unfortunately, last night’s game wasn’t able to deliver the playoff preview most were hoping it would. Instead, it was a rare opportunity for the Golden Knights to stick it to a shorthanded Avalanche team and take a stranglehold on the division. Vegas did just that, and whether they are given full credit for the win or not by any onlookers, the points are on the board and they’re never going away.
One of the things that makes sports the greatest soap opera in the world is the fact that there are hundreds of ways to look at every single “show.” And to make it all even better, no opinion is wrong and no one is right… yet.
Yes, the Golden Knights are a great team. Yes, the Avalanche played with less than their full lineup. Yes, the Golden Knights were missing players too. Yes, the Avs have a hard time staying healthy. Yes, Vegas won. Yes, Colorado lost. Yes, this is the regular season. Yes, it could be different in the playoffs. Yes, it might not.
This is a cliff-hanger. This is what writers of the best TV shows work so hard to build into the end of every episode to have you begging for more. It’s just with sports, it’s real, and unlike with some shows that just cut to black instead of writing an ending to the show, there will be an end to this debate. One side will be right, and one side will be wrong.
By early June, we’ll have our answers. Until then, the arguments will, and should, rage on.