The Golden Knights are in playoff position on Thanksgiving.
VGK History on Thanksgiving
2017: 27 points in 20 games (1st place) – In playoffs 2018: 21 pts in 23 gms (6th) – Not in playoffs* 2019: 28 pts in 27 gms (4th) – In playoffs 2020: COVID 2021: 24 pts in 20 gms (3rd) – In playoffs* 2022: 33 pts in 21 gms (1st) – In playoffs 2023:…
The Golden Knights returned home from Western Canada for a Thanksgiving eve matchup against the Ottawa Senators. Former Senator Mark Stone gave his current team a 1-0 advantage with a 1st period power play goal. Ottawa scored on the PP as well locking in a 1-1 tie after the opening twenty minutes.
This season’s most surprising player William Carrier weaved in and out through Ottawa’s defense to regain the lead for Vegas late in the middle frame. Carrier’s 7th goal of the season made it 2-1 Vegas after two periods.
William Karlsson didn’t wait long in the final period to add more offense. Karlsson roofed a backhanded shot past the Senators goalie, taking a two goal edge. In the final minutes, Jack Eichel scored a long-distance empty netter to seal Vegas’ victory.
The Golden Knights record improves to (16-4-1) defeating the senators 4-1. Vegas will next face Seattle on Friday evening from The Fortress. Puck drop against the Kraken is scheduled for 5P PT. (Recap by Jason)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Carrier-esque goal by Karlsson!!! Spinorama like Denis Savard!!! Yikes!! 3-1 Knights
Tonight, in Ottawa the Golden Knights continue a challenging five-game eastern conference road trip. This is the first extended journey for Vegas this season. Up until now, the Pacific Division leader’s longest road trip was a two-game trip to Seattle and Calgary. It’s possible the Golden Knights are fortunate to go on a cross-coast so early in the season. Normally, lengthy road trips allow a chance for players to bond and go through the grind together. Five cities in ten days against teams all with a .500 winning% or higher will help grow chemistry.
With the exception of the 2020-21 shortened season, the Golden Knights annually take an early season trek to the east coast for a handful of games. Here are the results from the previous five seasons.
VGK’s First Extended Road Trip Of The Season
2021-22: (2-2-0) – L 4-0 @TOR, W 5-1 @OTT, W 5-2 @MTL, L 5-2 @DET
2020-21: (2-1-0) – L 3-2 @COL, W 3-0 @COL, W 3-2 @ANA
2019-20: (1-2-1) – W 2-1 @CBJ, OTL 2-1 @TOR, L 5-2 @WAS, L 3-2 @DET
2018-19: (2-3-0) – W 2-1 @MIN, L 4-2 @BUF, L 5-2 @WAS, L 4-2 @PIT, W 1-0 @PHI
2017-18: (1-4-1) – L 6-3 @NYI, L 6-4 @NYR, L 2-1 @BOS, W 5-4 @OTT, SOL 3-2 @TOR, L 3-2 @MTL
Traditionally this road trip hasn’t been kind to the Golden Knights. Defeating the Capitals 3-2 in Washington was a good start for the Golden Knights, considering they’ve lost their opening matchup four out of five years. Since the opening season Vegas has combined for only 18 of 42 points on their early November trips. The 2017-18 club struggled to the point that former coach Gerard Gallant made his now infamous “we’re not an expansion team” speech after losing to the NY Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
If you’ve ever followed an NHL season, a regular one, you’ve probably heard about the importance of Thanksgiving as it relates to the standings. The story goes that if you are in the playoffs on Thanksgiving, you’ll probably be there when the season ends in April.
It seems absurdly early, but history has bore it out pretty well. Just about every year 13 to 14 of the 16 teams above the playoff cut line on Thanksgiving stay there when the season ends.
This year, the schedule is much shorter and the season started later, which means we need a new Thanksgiving. As it turns out, Valentine’s Day fits pretty well.
Thanksgiving typically lands about 380 games into the 1271 game NHL season. That’s about 30%. This year, 30% of the season is around 260 games. Last night’s VGK game was Game 243 on the schedule. Sure, it’s a little short, but the chances of the NHL getting 56 games in for every team feels low. So, I’m declaring Valentine’s Day the new Thanksgiving.
Vegas currently sits atop the West Division despite having played two fewer games than the team in 2nd (St. Louis). The Golden Knights are also seven points clear of the cut line and have a game-in-hand on the team currently in 5th (Arizona). 10-2-1 is good for a .808 points percentage, tied with Tampa Bay for the best in the entire NHL.
However you slice it, the Golden Knights are in incredibly good shape early in the 2021 season. The schedule gets a little tougher with 25 of the remaining 43 games on the road and 14 games still left to play against Colorado and St. Louis, but the cushion the Golden Knights have already built eases any concerns.
Every year a team or two falls out between Thanksgiving and Easter and that will certainly happen to someone between now and mid-May. However, I’d feel pretty confident in saying the Golden Knights are the least likely of any team to suffer that fate based on where they currently sit in the standings.
So, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Valentine’s Day, the Golden Knights are going to the playoffs again!
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VGK vs SEA (Winter Classic – 1/1/24) VGK -130 SEA +110 O/U 6.5 (U -125)