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The Golden Knights Have Never Faced Real Adversity, Because They Stop It Before Comes

He’s basically a superhero. Going around saving doubters from doubting. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

All season long there’s been a running narrative that the Golden Knights are strong at overcoming adversity. The storyline dates back to the Fleury injury and has stuck with the team throughout the season, despite the fact it’s never actually been true.

The Vegas Golden Knights had never experienced real hockey adversity. Sure, they lost their goalie, and then his backup, and then his backup, early in the year and battled through a stretch with Max Lagace in the net, but at no time during it was anything expected of them. There wasn’t real adversity there because there wasn’t any expectation. They’ve never had a truly bad stretch of hockey, they’ve never lost more than three games in a row, and once they rose to 1st place in the division they never lost it. Simply put, they’ve had what may look like hardships, but they’ve never really had a true hardship, one that could legitimately destroy their perfect season.

That was until Game 3. Coming off a crushing loss in Game 2 due to a disallowed goal, the Golden Knights went into the 3rd period in control, leading 3-1. They gave up one, but it looked like the clock was going to run out on the Sharks.

It didn’t.

San Jose scored, tied the game, came back from a two-goal deficit, again, and the Golden Knights season was hanging in the balance. Then it got worse. They were gifted a pair of power plays to begin overtime, and couldn’t score. They had a great chance from James Neal that clanked off the bar. Then they gave up the best chance of the game, and Marc-Andre Fleury (without even really seeing the puck) saved it with his glove.

The potential to lose this game, and control in the series, that was real adversity. But they are the Golden Knights, and how they deal with it is to turn to William Karlsson and let him do his thing, and once again, save them from serious adversity.

I mean, sure, it’s tough, but it’s still a tie game, there’s still a chance to step up in overtime. -William Karlsson

They’ve had bad shifts, taken bad penalties, and had bad periods, but they always bounce back. Inside of games, they are spectacular at dealing with the bad, putting it behind them, and finding a way to win. That’s what they did in Game 3.

Probably the most meaningful (adversity). We had one loss and they came back from a two goal deficit, but you just can’t think about it. You’ve just got to think about your next shift, or my next save. -Marc-Andre Fleury

That’s the Golden Knights. It seems like it’s going to end the wrong way, everything tells you it might, but then it doesn’t because they don’t let it.


Is this the most adversity you’ve faced all season?

I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. I guess that’s up to you guys (the media) to decide. -Karlsson

Well, I’ve decided, and yes it was. That game had all the makings of ending in dispair.

Over the course of the year I’ve had to train myself (and I’m sure you have too) to stop doubting them, but everyone once in a while it still seeps back in. The story doesn’t have to end the way we all want it to, and the fear of that can be debilitating to rational thoughts.

Losing that game would have been devastating, and we really don’t know how the Golden Knights would have bounced back, but we don’t have to find out, because this team hasn’t let us in the past, they didn’t let us tonight, and they’ll probably never let us in the future. This team is different, and it’s awesome, so just go with it.




The Difference Between You And Nate Schmidt In Regards To Getting Over Game 2


  1. Jonathan

    Good post, I have to agree fully. When you blow a two-goal lead in back to back games, yeah, it’s demoralizing — at least to fans, it certainly is. There’s an element of just thinking what does this mean for the future of the series and my watching? Obviously, I’m no longer going to view a 2-0 lead as anything but “a good start,” but I’m not going to start thinking about how nice it’s going to be going up 3-1. Now I’m going to be thinking about how badly I want that extra goal to go up by 3 lol. As a lifelong sports fan, this game just had the feeling of a heartbreaking loss and I’m not going to lie it had that feeling when the 2nd goal went in for me. Just because there was a lot of time left, the Sharks offense had been putting pucks to the net, and then we’d probably face the extra attacker at some point. Then it was like a nightmare coming true when it was tied at 3, I just simply couldn’t believe it. I was about to be so happy and then suddenly I’m thinking wow I can’t take two losses in a row like that, it’s too stressful and emotionally draining. BUT in comes Fleury with an amazing save and Karlsson with a HUGE goal and I don’t have to live in the reality where we lost that game 😛 In another reality we’re up 3-0, but sadly we’re in the middle reality where the Knights are 3-0 against the Sharks but just 2-1 (or if you prefer 2-0-1) against the Sharks and the refs combined.

  2. Rob

    This team has taught me how to appreciate a moment. With them, you just watch and don’t try too hard to figure out what is coming. With them, the moment is the magic.


  3. AJ

    The old adage that a 2 goal lead is the worst lead in hockey (soccer as well) was put on display last night. It’s such a false cushion. Boy if we can get game 4… fun is T-Mobile going to be on Friday?!?!

  4. Chris

    I’m going to comment here where I can write longer than Twitter. I don’t agree that the Golden Knights season was in the balance if they had lost this game. They have all the makings of a great team, and I think they could have come back to win it regardless.

    I’m a life-long Red Wings fan, so of course I go back to them for examples. In 1998, we got shellacked by Phoenix in Game 2 of the series 7-4. I drove down to Phoenix (one of the things I loved about Las Vegas – easy to drive to LA, Anaheim or Phoenix to see my team) and went to Game 3. The Wings blew a 2-0 lead they got in the 1st period, and Jeremy Roenick sent a blistering slap shot for the game winner from outside the blue line, embarrassing Osgood.

    The Wings stormed back to win 3 straight, and never let Phoenix have another sniff and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

    In 2002, I went home to visit my ailing mother, but we took a break and went to Game 2 vs. Vancouver Cannucks. We had already lost Game 1 in OT, and we got pretty frustrated by the President’s trophy Wings with 9 eventual Hall of Famers trying to do stupid pretty passes when they were trailing in the series and the game. We were down 3-1 in the game and I remember the entire Joe Louis Arena crowd yelling at the best team in hockey – “SHOOT THE PUCK! SHOOT THE PUCK!” We lost 5-2 to go down 0-2 AT HOME.

    Then we were tied in Game 3 and Nick Lidstrom did this:

    Center ice soft slap shot – goal. We never gave them another sniff and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

    Now I know you’re going to say but those were the Red Wings. They were a mini-dynasty in those years and one of maybe 4 teams (Detroit, Colorado, Dallas, and New Jersey) that had any real shot at the Cup. True. But you don’t know it in the moment. And for every Cup win I watched, there were 21 other times they fell short. But I’ve seen great teams and how they bounce back from a bad defeat against an otherwise inferior team. The Red Wings did it more times than most and it usually took a really great team like a Colorado or Dallas or some other Cup finalist to bounce them out.

    This team is better than San Jose in multiple ways. It’s taking everything San Jose has and some bad discipline by VGK for them to stay with us in this series. If we stay focused and have even a little better discipline than Game 3 (wasn’t as bad as 2 but not great) we will win this series.

    It’s going to take a Cup finalist to knock us out of the playoffs, if it happens. San Jose isn’t it.

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