The Golden Knights remain atop the standings in the NHL with a .955 points percentage through their first 11 games. 10-0-1 is impressive no matter who you play, but there’s no question Vegas has been blessed with a fairly fortunate schedule so far.
They currently have the 29th-ranked strength of schedule, have played seven of the 11 games at home, and have won three games in the shootout.
Prior to Thursday’s game against Winnipeg, the team was outwardly being pretty hard on themselves. They knew they could be better and despite the nearly immaculate record, they hit the ice for a pair of practices on Tuesday and Wednesday.
We were winning some games but we weren’t playing our best game. So it was good to get out there and practice and we got rewarded with a great game. -Marchessault
Head coach Bruce Cassidy wanted to jump-start the process of getting his team back on track. He also knew the next stretch of games was going to be far and away the toughest the Golden Knights have faced all season.
Tonight with a familiar opponent that we’ve built a little animosity with I think is food for us and I think Colorado will be the same. We know how good they are and I think they respect how we play the game. We can carry that over into Saturday and to be quite honest Sunday for that matter. Anaheim is playing really well, they’re feeling really good about their game and they are sitting there waiting for us. -Cassidy
The Avalanche visit T-Mobile Arena tonight in a battle of two of the best teams in the Western Conference. For the first time all season, the Golden Knights are underdogs. Then, directly after the game, VGK hop on the plane to Anaheim where the Ducks are riding a five-game win streak and haven’t played since Wednesday.
It’s going to be a difficult weekend of hard hockey so it’s good for us to get into that mentality. -Cassidy
Clearly, the Golden Knights have nothing to prove at this point in the season. They’re the reigning Stanley Cup champions and they’ve rattled off an 11-game point streak including 10 wins to open the season. That being said, these games will have a bit of a bigger game feel, especially tonight’s against the Avs.
Win them both, and people will start looking at Boston’s record season last year and asking if the Golden Knights can top it. Lose them both, and the schedule is going to start looking like it did Vegas some favors to get off to a hot start.
There aren’t many truly exciting games in a regular season. Tonight and tomorrow, the Golden Knights have them.