After going 6-2-0 over their last eight games and “blowing out” an opponent on national TV, the Vegas Golden Knights are back on everyone’s radar screen.
Eight goals in a game.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 28, 2018
During that period, the Golden Knights defeated five divisional opponents. Something NHL analyst Craig Button believes will end up hurting teams below Vegas in the Pacific standings.
As you get more games under your belt, you run out of games on the other side. It becomes really hard to make up ground in this league. The Vegas Golden Knights are looking like a real strong team, much like the team they were last year. –Craig Button on TSN Edmonton
The TSN analyst suggests Vegas is back on track to compete for the conference. Same goes for analyst Ray Ferraro, who expects Vegas to be in contention for back-to-back division crowns.
Starting to look a little like last year. I think we’re going to see a separation in the Pacific Division of four teams. San Jose, Calgary, Vegas, and Anaheim maybe… It looks like Vegas is on the right track. –Ray Ferraro on TSN Vancouver
One component Ferraro really focused on was Nate Schmidt’s return. Like we wrote last week, Vegas is a much more complete team with their shutdown defenseman in the lineup.
They’ve won five games since Nate Schmidt’s been back. There’s no underestimating when you add your number one defenseman… you add him back to your lineup the team changes. -Ferraro
There are multiple reasons for the Golden Knights latest success. Schmidt and Marc-Andre Fleury are obvious, but what about the second line? Or Vegas’ hot power-play? Or goals coming from defensemen?
No matter how, what, or who caused their turnaround, it always comes back to playing their game. With speed.
I think San Jose, Vegas and Calgary are the best teams in the Pacific. Unless those other teams are gong to make significant moves, I don’t see them as having as much depth of being as good as one of those three teams. -Button
Sometimes, Vegas fans can get sick and tired of generalizations spewed by national pundits. Button and Ferraro, on the other hand, have a good grip of this team. Both analysts are centralized in the Pacific Division and know the Golden Knights rosters very well.
Just a reminder, early last season Ferraro said this about the Golden Knights only a few games into the season. He was right on the money.
They didn’t even consider a player that couldn’t skate, that wasn’t fast, because that is the premier element of the game today… They went fast, fast, fast and fast. So when you play Vegas, if you can’t keep up, eventually they just wear you down. -Ferraro, 10/12/17
The consensus among the hockey world is San Jose and Calgary are the cream of the crop in the Pacific. However, it’s clear to the people that know the team, Vegas is back to being the dangerous team we expected them to be.
And if there is one thing fans and analysts can agree on; if a team is going to have a slow start, have one in the Pacific Division.