The Golden Knights are in the midst of a three-game slide, the first regular season losing streak since Pete DeBoer took over as head coach back in January 2020. They’ve fallen four points behind the division-leading Avalanche but have a game in hand. Meanwhile, after dropping four points to the Wild, Vegas still hold a two point advantage on Minnesota.
With a little more than 60% of the season gone we have a pretty good idea of where everyone inside of the division stands. However, due to the division-only scheduling, comparing team to team across divisions can be a bit trickier.
That’s why I like to rely on the stat geeks. I love to keep tabs on three prediction machines that use drastically different methods to come up with their probabilities. They are MoneyPuck.com, Hockey-Reference.com’s Playoff Probabilities page, and Dom Luszczyszyn from The Athletic’s Playoff Projections.
We’ll start with MoneyPuck. Their model uses a game predictor based on a variety of factors such as team strength, health, home/away, rest, and even more in-depth stats like expected goals and special teams percentages. They run 100,000 simulations daily to come up with their probabilities.
Next is Hockey-Reference. This is is very much statistical-based. Rather than trying to guess the outcomes of upcoming games, it uses every stat possible to give a percentage chance each team has to win each game. They run 1,000 simulations daily.
Finally, Dom from The Athletic. He uses “Game Score” to run 50,000 projections of what will happen the remainder of the season.
It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, but the Golden Knights are a lock to make the playoffs this season. Where they finish is a bit more of a mystery though.
Vegas is only given about a 25% chance to win the division, which feels quite low considering they’ve had the lead most of the year. Here are the remaining schedules for each team.
Golden Knights Remaining Schedule
2 vs Colorado (0 road)
3 vs Anaheim (3 road)
4 vs Arizona (2 road)
2 vs Los Angeles (2 road)
2 vs Minnesota (2 road)
3 vs San Jose (1 road)
4 vs St. Louis (2 road)
7 vs current playoff teams
Avalanche Remaining Schedule
2 vs Vegas (2 road)
2 vs Anaheim (2 road)
1 vs Arizona (0 road)
4 vs Los Angeles (2 road)
2 vs Minnesota (2 road)
4 vs San Jose (2 road)
4 vs St. Louis (4 road)
5 vs current playoff teams
The schedules are fairly comparable and Vegas have three more home games, including the two between these two teams. Call me crazy, but I’d call the West Division more of a coin flip and a 25% chance for the Golden Knights.
The Stanley Cup chance numbers remain very good for the Golden Knights. Their 8.2% at Hockey-Reference is the 4th highest in the NHL behind Colorado, Tampa Bay, and Toronto, while the 7.3% comes in 5th behind Colorado, New York Islanders, Toronto, and Carolina.
The Golden Knights remain the Cup favorites on the William Hill mobile sports app, currently going off at +450, slightly ahead of Colorado (+500), Tampa Bay (+600), and Toronto (+700).
No matter how you slice it, things look good, but not great, for the Golden Knights. They are definitely headed to the postseason, but if they don’t win beat Colorado for the West crown, they’ll potentially have four incredibly challenging matchups to win in order to hoist the Cup.