If the Golden Knights were to achieve the pipe dream of getting into 2nd place, they probably needed to win in Calgary last night. However, even had that happened, the chances of Vegas going on to not only pass the Flames, but also the Sharks, is about as likely as the Golden Knights giving out a detailed injury report.
So, it’s become fairly clear that Vegas’ opponent in the first round will be the Pacific Division runner-up, either Calgary or San Jose.
The Golden Knights have completed their regular season slate against the Flames going 2-2-0 winning the home ones and dropping the away games. Of course, it should be noted that both games Vegas played in Calgary were on the back-end up back-to-backs and Marc-Andre Fleury did not start either.
As for the Sharks, Vegas is 1-1-0 with two road games to play. The Golden Knights dominated San Jose in the first meeting 6-0 before blowing a two-goal lead to lose the second matchup. The next two are on March 18th and 30th.
The question is, which team would Vegas rather play first. Naturally, it shouldn’t matter as the Golden Knights are likely to have to beat both of them to make it back to the Western Conference Final, but still, it’s an interesting debate as the Sharks and Flames go back and forth with the division lead.
Here’s a quick rundown of the two teams and how they stack up against the Golden Knights.
|Corsi For % (5v5)||53.2||54.7||54.2|
|Scoring Chances For/Game (5v5)||22.2||23.4||24.7|
|Scoring Chances Against/Game (5v5)||20.0||19.9||20.1|
Obviously the two games in San Jose have a chance to change this opinion, but personally, I’d rather see Calgary first. Vegas is better at a lot of the key advanced stats like shots for, Corsi, and scoring chances. There’s also a glaring number on the board that I believe would crop up in a big way in a playoff series and that’s giveaways and takeaways.
Especially with the addition of Mark Stone, who is a takeaway machine, the Golden Knights should feast on the Flames’ 13.8 giveaways per game. It should feed the transition game and help Vegas get over their streakiness offensively.
Plus, while the goalie matchup favors the Golden Knights either way, the bigger edge would be against Calgary. David Rittich has never played in a playoff game and Mike Smith has only 19 under his belt and not a single appearance since 2012.
The Golden Knights have only won once in Calgary, but they’ve also been in odd situations almost every time they’ve gone up there. As mentioned, the back-to-backs this year, and last year’s 7-1 drubbing came in the final game of the regular season a week after Vegas had already clinched the division.
The only caveat that makes me consider San Jose would be the health of Erik Karlsson. He’s likely going to try and come back to start the playoffs, but he may not be fully healthy until the 2nd round. On the flip side, he might come back and end up out again. So, let’s throw that one out the window.
All in all, give me Calgary first, and we’ll worry about San Jose second.
What say you? (We have a comments section for this very reason.)
Either one is fine with me. Knights can easily beat both…….IF they play like we all know they can.
Great to have faith in your team and all but you’re a pretty hardcore homer if you think either would be beaten easily.. I’m an SJ fan, it’s pretty obvious we would rather avoid Vegas in R1 but this Sharks team is significantly better than last year and we’ll have home ice. Calgary surely isn’t a pushover either.
Homer……that’s kind of funny Keith, as a Sharks fan trolling through a VGK sight. All good. I get it how you would be worried about your team getting put to bed —-AGAIN—- like last year. And good on you to recognize the obvious fact, ” it’s pretty obvious we would rather avoid Vegas in R1.” But why is it, Keith, we don’t give a shit if the Knights face your toothless Sharks in R-1 or the Flames?? Simple answer——because we have unwavering faith in the Knights prevailing !!
Thank you for following Sinbin.Vegas 🙂
I say Calgary I think we match up well with them and playoffs don’t have back to backs which is where we struggled against them, back ends of back to backs on the road are almost certain losses imo. Either way works but yeah I’m thinking Calgary to get us at least to the 2nd Round so that we aren’t looked at as a 1 year wonder from last year at the least
Calgary. With Fleury rested and second and third lines playing together for a spell, Knights should smoke the Flakes. And with Carrier back with Bellie and Reaves, the Flakes should be sore as hell by game 3.
SJ. I think a tough matchup either way, but SJ is the makings of a bitter rival for years to come. Not to mention personal bias since SJ was my team before moving from SJ to Vegas, still have my throwback jersey for them. Also, easier to get an LV crowd in SJ than Calgary.
Not to mention, might be a chance to play the desert dogs in the second round if somehow advance (I really think AZ has a chance to beat Calgary), which could be another group of travelling games for the fans.
As for the regular season, aren’t both upcoming games with SJ the end of back-to-backs? And the game on Monday will be the third game in four games. So I’m not sure the games will be a great indicator of a playoff matchup.
BOTH games against SJ are 3rd game in 4 nights/End of BTB. Brutal!
Calgary for me. I think Sharks are the best team in the Western Conference. Another thing to consider is the whacky NHL playoff format. Knights will have to beat both these teams just to get to the WCF. Both series will go 6 or 7 games imo. Think of Jets/Preds last year. Jets were gassed by the time they beat Preds. Knights had coasted through first two series. It clearly made a difference in the WCF. One other note, if seeding follows form Knights will not have home ice advantage in any playoff series, including Finals if they make it.
I say either is fine considering that we will have to most likely go through both anyway. I like the way we are playing since the addition of Stone, and I think it is coming at the right time. Others should be worried to face us. It will certainly be a though road to travel back to the finals, but one I think our team can manage.
As a Sharks fan, don’t want to face Vegas.
I’d love to see the Sharks first. With their experience in playoffs I’d rather face the harder apponent first and feast in Calgary in the second round as you said. I think it could mentally daunting to have to go up to SJ in the second round with how physical they get with us, and if the first round goes 6 or 7 games . Either way we have our work cut out for us.
Only thing that matters is how the Knights are playing at the start of the playoffs and they are looking pretty good right now.
Last year I was glad to be facing the Caps instead of the lightning and we know how well that turned out!
Maybe the better question is: as between SJ and CGY, who has better chance of getting upset in Round 1? Right now MIN matches up vs. CGY, but it’s a race for top seed in Pacific and last WC, likely between MIN, ARI and COL. Is there any combo of matchup that gives us best hope for elimination of SJ or CGY before we’d have to play them?