Give the Ducks credit because last night’s 1-0 victory over the Golden Knights was a rare occurrence. Through 11 games it’s clear, the NHL (and a COVID pause) presented Vegas with a golden opportunity to start off strong.
The Golden Knights have largely preyed on weaker opponents. Their overall opponents’ combined record is 23-21-9. If you subtract the single game with St. Louis, the record drops to a sluggish 16-17-7.
The 5-4 win over Anaheim on Tuesday earned Vegas their 17th point of the season. Ten of those points, or 70% were earned by beating the same two bad teams.
vs. Anaheim & LA
VGK (5-1-0) 10 Points
VGK Goal Differential 21-13
VGK 3.5 Goals Scored Per
VGK 2.1 Goals Allowed Per
There’s also the home-ice factor. Of course, without fans, that is surely muted at least a little bit, but the rigors of traveling in the COVID landscape offer some challenges to the road teams.
The Golden Knights have traveled just one time the entire season and they suffered one of their two losses on that trip. In the two road games, they scored just three total goals.
At 8-2-1, Vegas has succeeded by dominating periods, getting hot goaltending and playing a lighter schedule. It’s not a knock on the Golden Knights, take em where you can get em. They play in a below-average division and as long as they clinch a playoff berth, it doesn’t matter who they beat or where they beat them. It was important for Vegas to jump out and build a cushion in the standings against easier competition and they’ve done just that.
Despite last night’s 1-0 loss to Anaheim, history tends to repeats itself when a Southern Californian team faces Vegas. Going back to the inaugural 2017-18, the Golden Knights have a combined total of 42 points in 31 games against the Ducks and Kings. Vegas has earned points in 22 of 31 games. It’s been a lopsided affair to say the least.
Vegas vs. Anaheim & LA History
16 Games Played
26 Of A Possible 32 Points
55-29 Goal Differential
15 Games Played
7-6-2 Record (4-0 in Postseason)
16 Of A Possible 30 Points
42-46 Goal Differential
Vegas will play Anaheim and LA 10 more times this season. Historical data projects the Golden Knights will earn around 13 points in their remaining games against the Ducks and Kings. If the forecast is accurate, Vegas will collect a whopping 23 of 32 points against the SoCal duo.
It’s possible the Golden Knights can build their path to the postseason from these two opponents alone. That success sets Vegas up nicely even if they happen to fall to better competition.