It doesn’t matter which team sport you are talking about, every coach, player, and analyst will tell you the easiest route to the playoffs is by winning division games. While the Golden Knights have had a rocky start to 2019-20, the franchise history of dominating the Pacific has continued.
Vegas currently sits in 2nd place in the division with an 18-13-5 record good for 41 points in 35 games. Against the Pacific Division, they are 8-3-1 or 17 points in 12 games. The Golden Knights started the season winning five of six against the division and have rebounded to win two straight after a 1-2-1 skid.
8-3-1 is a .708 points percentage which translates to 116 points over an 82 game season. Vegas is 10-10-4 against everyone else for a .500 points percentage or an 82 point pace. These numbers are even more drastic over the course of the franchise’s history.
|vs. Everyone Else||31-18-4||25-24-4||10-10-4||66-52-12|
|vs. NHL Pts%||.665||.567||.569||.608|
|vs. Pacific Pts%||.741||.672||.708||.707|
|vs. Everyone Else Pts%||.623||.509||.500||.554|
|vs. NHL Pace||109||93||93||100|
|vs. Pacific Pace||122||110||116||116|
|vs. Everyone Else Pace||102||84||82||91|
Maybe the biggest reason for this is the play of the Golden Knights 1st line.
Including tonight, in 59 games against the Pacific Division the VGK 1st line of Karlsson, Marchessault, and Smith have 70 goals, 108 assists, and 178 points.
Karlsson: 33G, 32A, 65P
Marchessault: 22G, 37A, 59P
Smith: 15G, 40A, 55P
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) December 16, 2019
This year alone the 1st line has produced 10 goals, 17 assists, and 27 points against the Pacific.
Gamblers? If you are a$100 bettor on every Golden Knights game, you’d be down $615 in the team’s 200 regular season games. Bet on just the Pacific Division games and you’re up $1,095.
But the question is, why? Why are the Golden Knights so much better than the rest of the division?
Maybe it’s just that we are aware that they are important games and we’ve got to step up in those important games. It’s a huge advantage if you finish atop your division and for us it’s something we want to achieve as a team. -Jonathan Marchessault
For the two and half years we’ve played well against our division and they’re big games. The guys look at the standings all the time and tonight was a big game. It was a huge game against a team that’s right behind us and we played really well tonight. Like I said we seem to play well against our division. Hopefully it continues. -Gerard Gallant
I don’t know (chuckles). I really can’t tell you a reason why. (pause) Hmm, I don’t know. It’s been working good for us though. -Marc-Andre Fleury
Even though the players and coach can’t say it, the main reason is probably that the Pacific Division hasn’t been very good. Currently, the Coyotes who lead the division, sit in 9th place overall in the NHL. Last year, the division champion Flames were 2nd in the league but the Sharks were the only other team in the top half of the NHL.
In both 2017-18 and 18-19, the Pacific had four teams in the bottom 10 of the league. Yet, never since Vegas has been in existence has the Pacific had more than two teams in the NHL’s top 10 (and Vegas was one of them once).
There are still 17 games left against the Pacific on the schedule. Whatever the reason for the dominance is, if it continues, the Golden Knights will remain a stalwart in the playoff picture.
Interesting observation why do you think that’s the case, the Pacific division being that weak.
the reason is speed, as in lack of. the Pacific Div teams are mostly slower teams, and so the Knights match up better vs them.
Getzlaf , Thornton, all the old LA Kings etc
Vegas has some speed the only problem is they all to often forget where the gas petal is – I don’t see them being any slower than year one when they went all the way but failed in the final. They have some older guys but not over the hill just yet.
Thank goodness we ARE in the pacific division. But basically an average team against the rest. That’s why I don’t think we could win the cup vs who comes out of the east. BUT, right now it’s only about making the playoffs!!!!!! (look at what happened last year) If you get in, anything can happen!!!!!
Coyotes just added Taylor Hall ….. That makes them a bigger threat to actually stay in a playoff spot this year. Plus they will get Hjalmarsson back in a while too.
The central div is so deep this year that I think that 5 playoff teams will come from the Central, and only 3 from the Pacific.
The Knights will be hard pressed to stay in the top 3 of the Pacific. The key will be wins at home. They had 29 in season 1, 24 last season, but only 9 so far this season. They need to go on a run at home.
the codys are going to have a tough time getting back in the line up Stephenson and zkov are playing well zykov strong on the puck
Cody E, yes. Cody G no. Glass is much more talented & needed than Zykov, I believe. AZ getting Taylor might just put the Coyotes over the top for pacific div. Very nice trade for them. They addressed what they needed. The Knights MUST do the same … DEFENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hey Ken …… Do YOU agree that we need to trade for a quality defensive guy(s)? If so, do you have any thoughts on who might be available out there, we could afford? Thanks, DOC
At this point I would be patient. They certainly could use another puck moving defenseman but the prices will be higher now than at the deadline and their cap situation will be better then.
I agree! Any trade the Knights engage in, will happen in the final day(s) of the deadline, because of the salary cap issue. I just think they need, well MUST address the defense to make a serious run at the cup.