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No Need To Measure The Next Two Games Against Colorado

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As expected, the Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche are proving to be the two best teams in the West Division. Both crossed the 30 game mark this week and both sit comfortably in a playoff position with more than 40 points apiece. It’s not shocking, at least not in a below-average division like the West.

West Division Team Points %/NHL Rank
Vegas .750 (2nd)
Colorado .694 (6th)
Minnesota .661 (8th)
St. Louis .578 (15th)
Los Angeles .500 (20th)
Arizona .500 (20th)
San Jose .484 (23rd)
Anaheim .353 (30th)

In a sense, the Avalanche and Golden Knights should be thankful for one another. It’s the only real competition each will face in the regular season. There’s an argument that Minnesota deserves more credit, but in my opinion, this is a two-team division. And the top two franchises are playing lights out right now. Colorado has collected points in eight straight and Vegas is 7-3-0 in their last 10 games. This means one will cool off tonight.

It was fair to call the first four matchups between the Golden Knights and Avalanche measuring stick-type games. The next two games not so much.

There are several elements that need to be considered for tonight’s night’s face-off in Denver. The Golden Knights are without two major pieces to their roster. If Max Pacioretty is unavailable then the offense is less potent. The same goes for Alex Pietrangelo. While he hasn’t been as effective as expected in his limited time on the ice, the veteran defenseman was brought in to help Vegas beat quality opponents like Colorado.

The next factor is the goaltender rotation. Last time when these two clubs met up, Marc-Andre Fleury started all four games. This go around expect to see Fleury and a healthy Robin Lehner in the Vegas nets. Vegas is trying to integrate Lehner back in the lineup and prove they can beat Colorado with either netminder.

By the next time these two teams meet, one, if not both, could look different. Their last two matchups come weeks after the trade deadline. It’s possible both front offices will try and upgrade their rosters. Heck, maybe these next two games will influence those decisions.

Neither team needs to prove anything at this point. So rest, lineup experimentation, and adjustments could be part of this two-game series to almost hide their secrets for the inevitable playoff series in May.

We can gain some knowledge from the upcoming two-game set though. Vegas could be without their best goal scorer, and certainly their $8.8M defenseman who will both play vital roles if Vegas were to eliminate Colorado in the postseason. In a case where the two teams split the next couple of games then there’s possibly more to uncover. Will the team to lose first come out and correct their mistakes or will there be a letdown?

It’s possible both clubs walk away feeling good about themselves. Win or lose, there’s something to learn about your team. This is a quiz. Important, yes, but there’s still plenty of time to study up for the final.


The West Division Is Essentially A College Mid-Major




  1. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Pretty much agree with your comments Jason.

    This 2 gamer won’t settle the division, far from it. But it will be an opportunity to plant seeds of doubt in the other teams heads. Lets hope our boys do most of the planting.

    Would like to see the goalies back into a straight rotation. It will benefit both of them come playoff time!

  2. Nice article Jason but there is no such thing as an unimportant game (that’s not exactly how you put it ) but indirectly indicated that is the case. This shortened season doesn’t allow for let downs as for whatever reason they become contagious. They need to come out with “guns” blazing and put Colorado in their place – you have seen Vegas when they can’t get out of their own end and the results of that with some lesser teams so that last thing they want to do is open the door like that for Colorado.

  3. Tim

    There’s a hint in your article that one of the goal tenders might be traded. I think you’ve been around Ken to long. If they trade Fleury and Lehner goes down again the party is over. I’d really be disappointed if management pulled of that shenanigans and I do believe it would damage the fan base.

  4. Daryl

    I have to disagree with you somewhat… I think this game is extremely important. Not so much by by who wins but by the simple fact, and as you stated, this is the only real competition either team faces. These games will help determine what adjustments and changes are needed.

    Also, you bring up that Patches and Petra are out but lets not forget that COL was without 7 players, 5 of which were starters, when we faced them earlier on. They were also out for 2 weeks and we were their first game back.

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