Since the Golden Knights entered the NHL they’ve done nothing but dominate the Pacific Division.
Not just in the overall standings, in which the Golden Knights have won the division two of the three years they’ve competed in it, but also in the postseason where Vegas has been the last team standing three of the four playoff seasons.
One of the main reasons for this dominance has been the head-to-head play between the teams. Of the six teams still in the division (Arizona left for the Central), the Golden Knights had a combined record of 68-21-8 record coming into this season. That’s 144 points in just 97 games or a points percentage of .742. Against all other teams, VGK have earned 226 points in 194 games for a points percentage of .583.
Literally almost 40% of the points the Golden Knights have earned in franchise history have come on the backs of just six teams. But this year it hasn’t gone as well.
Record against ANA, CGY, EDM, LAK, SJS, and VAN
21-22: 2-4-0 (.333)
20-21: 21-3-0 (.875)
19-20: 13-5-2 (.700)
18-19: 18-8-3 (.672)
17-18: 16-5-3 (.729)
The Golden Knights have won just two games against Pacific Division opponents not named Seattle while dropping four. They’ve lost both division games they’ve played on the road (at LAK, at ANA) and have allowed their opponent to grab at least a point in every game but one, a game they trailed 2-0 six minutes in (vs VAN).
Winning in the division has been a staple for the Golden Knights’ success and one has to wonder what their overall record will look like if they are not amassing huge point totals against the Pacific Division.
Obviously, Seattle has helped as Vegas has beaten them twice in two tries, both in regulation. However, those games were both at T-Mobile Arena and the Kraken appear to be improving as the season progresses. The next two matchups in late March and early April may not be as easy.
There are still 18 games left against division opponents. Including Seattle, the Golden Knights have recorded eight points in the first eight games. To reach their normal pace against the division (.742), they’d need to go 15-2-1.
Making that even trickier, 10 of the 18 games are on the road, including a pair in Edmonton and Calgary who are in 1st and 2nd in the division.
Adding this all up, the fact of the matter is, the Golden Knights are going to need to play much better out of division than they ever have before to reach the playoffs.
There’s no better time than now to start that as nine of the next 10 games are out of the division.