From the two elite teams at the top to the solid pair in the middle to the dumpster fire group on the bottom, the West has been anything but a gauntlet for the four teams that qualified for the postseason.
Vegas and Colorado ran away with it pacing not only the division but also the entire NHL. St. Louis and Minnesota each had their good and bad moments but neither were ever really in grave danger of missing out on the best time of the year.
But now, we’re here, and it’s all erased. From here, it no longer matters how many times you beat the Kings or Ducks, instead, it’s who can withstand a pair of seven-game series, emerge the true champion of the division, and represent the West in the NHL’s Final Four.
A lot is made at this time of year about experience. Whether we’re talking about Stanley Cup Champions or just NHL playoff experience in general, it’s always better to have it than not. For the Golden Knights, they have plenty of it.
We’ve been through that road the last three years. We’ve had good rounds and bad rounds and we know what to expect. We have a lot of playoff experience as a group. Obviously we’re not going to have an easy path if we want to go all the way but we have the gamers in that locker room that I’m confident we can go a long way here. -Jonathan Marchessault
In fact, the Golden Knights actually have more playoff experience, by games played, than any other team in the West Division. But not by much.
Vegas – 1,086 games
St. Louis – 1,035 games
Minnesota – 783 games
Colorado – 778 games
The Golden Knights are led by Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been on a team that’s qualified for the playoffs an insane 15 consecutive seasons. He, with Robin Lehner, have Vegas atop the goalie experience chart by a wide margin.
Goalie Playoff Experience
Vegas – 172 games (Fleury 146, Lehner 26)
Colorado – 55 games (Grubauer 23, Dubnyk 26, Francouz 6, Johansson 0)
St. Louis – 31 games (Binnington 31, Hussi 0)
Minnesota – 25 games (Talboy 25, Kahkonen 0)
Vegas does not lead in either position group, however. Despite having 13 forwards all with at least 10 games of experience under their belts, the Golden Knights’ 599 games of playoff experience rank them second behind St. Louis.
Forwards Playoff Experience
St. Louis – 651 games
Vegas – 599 games
Colorado – 578 games
Minnesota – 450 games
Both the Golden Knights and Wild have just one regular without a playoff game on the resume. For Vegas it’s Keegan Kolesar, on the Wild, it’s Kirill Kaprizov.
On the back end, Vegas once again looks up to the 2019 Stanley Cup Champions.
Defensemen Playoff Experience
St. Louis – 353 games
Vegas – 315 games
Colorado – 308 games
Minnesota – 145 games
With all this experience at the blue line, we should probably expect all three series to be fairly low scoring.
However you slice it, the Golden Knights are not new to this spotlight. They’ve been in the playoffs four years straight and have a roster made up of players that have lived through the massive swings the NHL Playoffs often bring.
They may not have much more of an experience benefit than any other team in this division, but it’s certainly not an excuse.
Ken, our experience is dwindling with Patch, Nosek, Martinez, Reeves, Brown, and maybe Tuch out we’ll be struggling. Our goalies will have to play there best to have a chance.
Tim – we need a a second Miracle on Ice tonight in Denver so the boys can get what they should have gotten Monday evening. They showed some real grit under the circumstances and it was a shame they weren’t rewarded with a win. I feel for them, not management they got what they deserved, unfortunately the team as a whole got screwed after playing well all year. While no one is saying anything about the missing pieces at this point, nor should they, you never know they might fall into place – In the scheme of things I have reservations they could raise the Cup – but Maybe a third Miracle on Ice might happen I doubt it but you never know it’s been a strange year all around not just for hockey — LOL –
THE hockey GOD
per prior post update: Moses is not available, has some Middle East uprising to monitor.
Miracle Max hasn’t picked up the phone or returned my phone calls.
I am still waiting.
If l was addressing you hockey “god” notice the small “g” that is how ill would appear. I realize that’s not how you see yourself but others do. Have a great day.
THE hockey GOD
my keyboard only allows GOD to be capitalized
and thanks for asking , but I am not ill today at least.
Read what was said I wasn’t asking you anything – just pointing out to you that if I was addressing you how god would appear.
Hey, HD! I hope you are doing great these days! I looked at the goalies tonight for Colorado and LA. Colorado is bringing in Jonas Johansson 3.02 GAA .894 Sv%, played 11 games (4-6-1). LA has Troy Groseneck with 1.00 GAA and .971Sv% with 1 game – he won that one. Maybe that will be the difference if LA can shoot at everything and anything tonight. . Miracle-whip no mayo. 🙂
THE hockey GOD
based upon last nite’s game I am guessing LA will have a hard time not tripping over the blue line on every rush up the ice
dun dun dun dun dun due et al ad nauseam
God, I am pretty sure you said LA would handled business for us. I am holding you to that. 🙂 Perhaps they saved up all of their energy for tonight. In reality though, I am guessing they have as much interest in winning as the Sharts did last night, so it’s time to get ready for MIN.
THE hockey GOD
based on last night’s game I am not so sure their heart or soul is in it. Moses is busy and Miracle Max still hasn’t returned the phone call.
So let’s see what happens.
Hi Julie – how goes the battle are your relatives in Canada watching Edmonton? Hope you doing ok. Can you imagine how pleasant it would be without negative Nellie- I know you realize whom l am referencing. In any case whether they get over the blue line or not if the puck goes in who cares. It would sure be poetic justice if Avs lost based on their luck monday evening. I know poor goal tending by Lehner was problem in most people’s eyes but ! In any event cheer for LA tonight you can never tell maybe the real hockey GOD will smile on them. Take care keep smiling always enjoy reading your posts.
Are you watching the game, HD? :). 1-0 LA. Groseneck is the story so far…. Walker all by himself against Johansson and won. 1 period down. Reminds me of that scene in Dumb and Dumber after the girl tells Jim Carrey the odds of dating him are ” 1 in like out of a million” and he says “so you’re telling me there’s a chance”. Keep hope alive
The hope is getting squashed, like a bug, on its back, little legs kicking wanting to flip over but can’t. 3-1 in the 2nd Avs.
Maybe it’s more like a bug hitting a windshield. All 3 goals came in pretty fast. Sigh…
As said before when we lost to The Wild winning 5-3 with less then 10 minutes to go that’s where we lost the Presidents Trophy so that was on us. My thought is Colorado blitzed the Wild almost every time they played so maybe them playing the Blues if Binnington is on can upset the Avalanche. On the other hand Minnesota has had our number if somehow we can figure out The Wild and the Blues can beat Colorado that could be a realistic way forward. We’ve had good luck against the Blues this year. Counting on LA tonight I think is a pipe dream.
No, it was entirely on Pekka Rinne JR, “elite goaltender” $25M man. If he plays in postseason, get used to more of Pekka JR.
Question…. exactly how are the playoff match-ups going to be division wise after the first round? Is Canada going to play themselves the entire playoffs just to make sure they get a canadian team in the Cup???
First two rounds are within the division based on divisional seeding, second two are determined by league seeding based on point totals. If Avs win tonight they are number #1 seed with 82 pts and VGK is #2 seed with 82 pts (lose the regulation wins tiebreaker). This means if Vegas advances and Avs do not, VGK will become the top seed giving them home ice for the rest of the playoffs. No guarantee a Canada team from the North makes it past the final four.
I have been wondering how Nate Schmidt feels about now….
THE hockey GOD
whoa !Jimmy Fox , LA kings color commentator just jinxed the AVs and VGK by saying he thought they were best teams in NHL.
He also gave a nice call out to the Walrus , I mean panda, WALANDA.
Looks like we’re headed towards Avs play the Blues. Blues crushing Wild again. I would think Avs would almost prefer the Wild. Something tells me the Blues are actually a tougher first round for the Avs. As for the VGK nothing more needs to be said other than play like we did Monday and one has to like our chances. Yes, I would rather Fleury start.