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Less Than 100% Colorado Team Leaves Plenty Of Room For Debate

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

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.

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22 Comments

  1. George L.

    I was going to watch the game last night, but I didn’t have my best bourbon, my favorite chair or my rabbit’s foot, but evidently the game was still played.

    It’s a shame to let so many excuses tarnish a well played game.

  2. Jake

    Few wins in any sport are “perfect.”

    You can only beat the teams on your schedule, with the rosters both teams put on the ice.

  3. Tim

    Ken predicting what could have been is easy. Last year Grubauer was hurt in the playoffs if he goes down again what will you say then oh they weren’t at full strength. We have the luxury of two good goalies that can carry us Colorado doesn’t believe me there worried about that don’t let them bull shit you. A forward or d-man can be replaced but as I’ve told you for months it’s all about the goalie. Do you think Coghlan, Kolesar, or Sirka will be in our playoff lineup? I’m hoping this line of Krebs, Janmark, and Tuch fourth line of Nosek, Roy, and Carrier and I don’t care who they put out there we’ll beat them and then they’ll be more excuses. As I always say the league is so jealous of our success that they can’t stand it. The beauty of it is with our prospect pipe line were not going anywhere. Oh while your add it you can tell Pierre McQuire to shove it where the sun don’t shine that Hypocritical asshole.

  4. DOC (10 IN A ROW)!

    Spot on George & Jake.

    We can only play who they put on ice against us.

    This continued lack of appreciation & respect of what the Knights are doing, is simply dis-respectful, especially by those that are supposed to be Knight’s Fans.

    We have a very good team, period. Are we going to win the CUP, who knows. But I think we CAN and will rooting 100% for that!

    • Lizzette

      Well said!

    • Neal

      I couldn’t agree more. You play who is on the ice. That’s your team. If lose because you’re missing players it shows lack of depth.

      • Neal

        On top of that this whole bs we only won 10 in a row because of who we play in our division is just that bs. Play the worst team in the league 10 times in a row and the odds of winning all 10 are slim to none.

        • Daryl

          Playing the worst team in your division I’d expect 9 wins. Play the 3 worsy teams in your league then yeah I do expect 9 wins. It’s hard to beat the same team over and over again but it’s a lot easier to beat 3 different teams 3 times each

      • DOC (Go Knights Go)

        Yes Neal, you’re correct!

  5. DOC (10 IN A ROW)!

    Right on Tim, also!

  6. DOC (10 IN A ROW)!

    So great to see the positive comments!

    I thank you all!

  7. Brian

    Longtime die hard Colorado fan here. Amazing article. I reaply look forward to seeing these two teams meet in the playoffs and will be very sad if I don’t get to see it. Vegas is one team out West that I love to watch and feel nothing but respect for. Hard to dislike a team of misfits that have been nothing short of absolutely dominant. Flower has always been one of my favorite players too. I was really hopong Joe would have traded for him when it was apparent that Matt Murray was taking the No 1 job in Pittsburgh and Varlamov was not going to stay healthy and consistent enough to deliver a cup.of course, back then, we were still missing a lot more pieces.

  8. Daryl

    This was not a preview of a playoff game between the two. COL had 56 goals missing from that game. VGK had no excuse to lose. What’s even more important than those 56 goals is missing your star goalie. Yes VGK lucked into having 2 all-star goalies but what if they were both out? Do any of you honestly believe that wouldn’t be the very first thing that was being said on here after a loss???

    And it’s no different than any other team. After the Caps lost to the Pens all I heard was the Caps were without Ovi and another starter, and they had a very valid point except the Pens were without Malkin and Tanev. If the Pens had a full roster I would agree with those Caps fans.

  9. THE hockey GOD

    h-AV-s were “head” hunting most of the game when not attacking the O-zone trying to injure VGK players , VGK did not respond accordingly. Wait for playoffs and expect some payback. Especially if push button PDB decides to put 75 in the play off line up.

    As far as AVs playoff chances, players just don’t come back into line up and automatically start playing playoff hockey. Every player is different and timing is off. Some players take one game, others a month to get their timing back. Then there is the issue of conditioning. Depending on injury some players may not be ready for playoff “grind”. I would expect if AVs don’t get all their players back in time. And that really is question AND if standings stay as they are, the WILD would knock off the AVs. That means the winner from division would have to beat the WILD.

    With 9 to 10 games left and about two weeks time that leaves little time for AVS to bring back all their players.

    Enuf said, call Jeb.

    PS is it just me or are VGK retired No. 5 toyota TV ads a 100000x better than old Kia ads ??

    • Daryl

      I disagree I think VGK did respond as they should… At least in that game. VGK was winning and why give the Avs motivation for a possible comeback. I do believe fights can change the momentum in a game. And before anyone says otherwise, there were a couple documentaries on fights and the actual players stated the same. I think I’ll believe players over reporters. For me the time to return the favor is in the next game and early on.

      As for the Avs and their playoff chances, everything I’ve read from other boards is that their players will all return before the playoffs. So while I agree players may need a game or two to get their playoff legs, it looks like t hey will have it. And let’s not forget that Minn just got swept

      • THE hockey GOD

        the only thing i saw was a bit of scrum at end of game when AVS player elbowed a VGK player into the glass at the buzzer.

        that scrum was not much of pay back for that unnecessary cheap shot

        what else did you see ?

        • Daryl

          I didn’t see anything… I was basically saying don’t give the Avs to get back in the game… take care of the cheap shot early in the next game. I would have been OK it VGK waited til the end of the game but I didn’t want a fight to change the momentum back to COL

  10. Jake

    I remember listening to former Wild coach, Bruce Boudreau, post game, following a loss to an opponent, perhaps Vegas a couple of years ago.

    Minnesota was playing without 3 of their top players. A reporter asked Bruce if playing without some of his best players played into the defeat.

    Response, “It had no effect on the result. We fielded a team of NHL roster players tonight. We didn’t lose because of “missing” certain players. That is an excuse. We lost because our roster of NHL professionals kept making stupid mistakes over and over. Watch the tape. Missing several players meant nothing. Next question.”

    • Daryl

      He said what any coach should say, but that doesn’t make it true. If VGK was without MAF and Lehner do you honestly believe fans wouldn’t be using that as an excuse?

      • Jake

        It doesn’t make it “true” but it could be true.

        You “go to war with what you got.”

  11. sb

    Having that number of hi-end talent out of the line up did make a difference. Take out Fluery and Lehner from the line up and see if it doesn’t make a difference. The point is for now, get the win, which they did, and do everything possible to hang on to win the President’s Trophy. Home ice advantage will be a big, big plus. There are ten teams that could win the Cup this year.

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