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Vegas And Colorado Preparing For Inevitable Postseason Showdown

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, the Golden Knights have played a total of 15 games in the 2021 shortened season. Their overall record is an outstanding 10-3-1 but Vegas’ measuring tape record is 1-1-0.

In six periods against the Avalanche, the pace, style, and quality of hockey was noticeably different. Cliché or not, the last two contests between the heavyweights in the West felt like playoff games. The Golden Knights hadn’t seen the power, skill and speed of Nathan MacKinnon and his talented teammates. Same goes for the Avalanche. In the 13 games Colorado played, only Vegas has a winning percentage of .569 or higher.

You get a real good goaltender like Fleury that is an active player in the net. He’s an aggressive guy. This is a team that checks real well. Their numbers on the analytics side of it is they’re not giving up a lot of scoring chances and you have to earn those chances. -Jared Bednar, Colorado coach

With six matchups left between one another, the Golden Knights and Avalanche will have to do some soul searching. In all likelihood, the winner of the West Division will be one of these two clubs. If that’s the case, both front offices will examine their clubs and ask themselves if the current roster is good enough to beat the other in a long playoff series. To advance it might come down to taking advantage of trade deadline or feeling confident and standing pat.

It might sound simple, but both the Avalanche and Golden Knights should look at each other as their only roadblock to the Stanley Cup Finals. Whether it’s a waiver pickup, a deadline trade, or the elevation of internal depth, any and all acquisitions should be aimed at outlasting the other in a seven-game series. Perhaps Vegas looks to add speed or depth scoring at the deadline to help neutralize Colorado’s pace and power. Or maybe Colorado looks to add some girth and toughness to challenge Vegas’ strength.

There’s no doubt the speed and level of play has been higher than any point we’ve seen. -Pete DeBoer

Last year at the deadline each team added to their offense. Colorado traded for Vladislav Namestnikov and the former 1st rounder scored four goals in the postseason. Vegas acquired depth for three positions. Alec Martinez was brought in to sure up the defense and he’s been in the lineup ever since. Offensively, the Golden Knights supplied the bottom-six with Nick Cousins. And of course, Vegas flip-flopped Malcolm Subban (and in a way Marc-Andre Fleury) for Robin Lehner.

Both teams tend to be active around the deadline, making deals in three straight years. Expect involvement again this year but like Vegas, Colorado has cap issues. It could come down to which front office can be more creative opening up room for more salary.

From what we saw in the last two games, the Golden Knights and Avalanche are evenly matched, despite each playing without key pieces. Both are elite and capable of winning the Cup, but can’t do so without getting through the other.

We all know it, Vegas and Colorado are destined to play in the second round of the postseason and it has the potential of being one hell of series. Best start preparing now.

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11 Comments

  1. Daryl

    As I said to Ken, I think COL is if great shape and don’t really need to make much if any changes. The fans agrarian the Knights were COL firsts in almost 2 weeks. Yes they were well rested but if say too rested. They also were playing without 5 starters. If VGK is too have any chance of beating them in a 7 game series the MUST find a top line Center… I just don’t know how they will pay for it. The contracts of Petra and Lehner (or MAF) have pretty much made that impossible. Add in the contract raises to 4th liner Reaves and almost permanent Taxi Squad member Holden. (I’m throwing this out there so some can yell at me… they could have signed Engo at base salary for Taxi Squad and saved the team $1mil). That sucks because this team could have been really special

    • My feeling – based on the last two games, that VGK and COL are really evenly matched. Either team could have won both games. So you say that COL was down players? We were also essentially playing rookies (or at least some very inexperienced players) on our blueline – who did very well might I add. I like our chances against COL even when they are at full strength. By my eyes so far it’s a pick em. Things may change later on due to injuries etc. Really, if we meet in the playoffs it will come down to who has the hotter team and hotter goaltender.

      • Daryl

        There is a huge difference between playing one rookie and missing at least 5 starters. Not only were they missing those starters, they were also out two backups. Could you imagine what VGK would look like if we were down that many players?

        I do think VGK can win a game when both teams are at full strength, but not much of a chance winning a playoff series. VGK is only a key player or two away from being in that position

  2. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    I agree Jason ….. These games are being played like playoffss and we’ll see that throughout this year. Not sure what each teams needs (if anything), but I’m sure each teams GMs will be looking at that. Looking forward to the outdoor game Saturday, should be fun!

    As a footnote: I communicate with #5 every few weeks, thru his foundation. He checks on how I’m doing. He’s a great guy. He made it clear to me a few weeks ago that it was HIS choice to retire and pursue other projects, as he put it. He’s got plenty to accomplish, just not on the ice!

  3. Tim

    Getting a top flight center will be almost impossible unless we dump a salary or two. Martinez is playing to good I don’t see that happening. Your not trading the Karlsson line or Stone or Patch. I’d hate to see them trade Tuch who would seem the most likely to give them some cap space. The other option would be if they could dump Reeves and Holden which would give them maybe 3.6 million. If that was possible that would be the best option. Kolesar could replace Reeves and Coghlan could replace Holden nothin lost but who would want Holden and Reeves? You can’t trade Flower not knowing the status of Lehner so I don’t see any other options.

    • Tim – thinking about the status of Lehner seems he is less than what they paid for and frankly its rather sad given the contract is five years. A waste of cap money for sure – he isn’t the motivation for Fluery as people elude to IMO not even sure he could fill Flower’s skates to begin with. I can’t see getting rid of Tuck his size and speed is what Vegas needs with the right line. IMO they have few choices and based on what’s taking place they probably can’t find a taker for out recent addition in goal.

  4. vgk21

    would like to see the team add some speed. young, low cost options are in LA. ……look how much Stephenson has added to the team. He was a 4th line winger in Wash, and he now is the first line center in Vegas.

    • Vgk21 – necessity is the mother of invention – in Stephenson case it sure turned out that way regarding the first line. They have some dead weight on the club they need to do something with.

  5. Vgk21 – necessity is the mother of invention – in Stephenson case it sure turned out that way regarding the first line. They have some dead weight on the club they need to do something with.

    • jinklu

      Dead weight solution: How about taking DeBoer and Lehner out in the desert and leaving them there? With any luck they won’t get back before July. lol

  6. Darin

    Total of 14 games

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