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Which Potential Playoff Matchup Is Best For The Golden Knights?

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This surely won’t come back to bite me in the butt in a few weeks. But, enough of you are asking so, we’re doing it.

With eight games to play and about two weeks left in the regular season, the Golden Knights are in excellent position to make the playoffs for the 6th time in seven seasons. The way the standings shake out there are reasonably four teams Vegas could face in the opening round. They are the Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, and Edmonton Oilers.

Which team presents the best matchup for the Golden Knights, and which is the worst? Here’s how I see it.

(In order of hardest to easiest matchup)

Colorado Avalanche
Record: 47-21-6 (100 points, .676 points percentage)
Goals For/Against Per Game: 3.77 / 2.99
vs. VGK: 1-1-0

The Avalanche of old are back this season and will be a major problem for whoever has to play them in the first round. This year’s team is much deeper than last year’s or even the year VGK beat them in six games. Nathan MacKinnon is having the best season of his career, which is pretty amazing considering how great his career has been, and the defensive unit might be the best in the league. My main concern with this matchup is the style of game a team must play to beat the Avs in the playoffs. It’s a heavy forecheck and strong backchecking game that frustrates the top players and forces them to make mistakes. The best version of VGK can pull it off but we haven’t seen that version much this season and there are a lot of new pieces in the lineup. So, doing it four times out of seven is a tall order. The weakness remains in goal which is something Vegas could certainly exploit. Alexander Georgiev has posted just a .901 save percentage this year and his history in the playoffs is limited and not overly impressive.

Edmonton Oilers
Record: 45-23-4 (94 points, .653 points percentage)
Goals For/Against Per Game: 3.64 / 2.81
vs. VGK: 1-0-1

Trust me, I haven’t forgotten what happened in the playoffs last year, and I do think if this is the matchup we end up seeing I’ll end up picking Vegas. But, the Oilers are no joke and the rivalry between these teams is real. That added level of hatred scares me a bit because if Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are on top of their games for a couple of weeks there’s no stopping them. Edmonton’s defense is still massively suspect and I’d expect VGK to be able to score bundles of goals, but the way the Golden Knights have defended this year leaves lots of room for concern against a deeper Edmonton forward group. Last year the plan was simply to keep the game at 5-on-5, and that will continue to be the case, but it’s not as clear-cut an advantage this year. The Oilers are 42-14-3 since the coaching change and have lost four games out of seven just one time since their dreadful start. Can VGK win a series against Edmonton, of course. Will they again? I think I’d rather not have to find out.

Vancouver Canucks
Record: 46-20-8 (100 points, .676 points percentage)
Goals For/Against Per Game: 3.45 / 2.66
vs. VGK: 1-1-0

I like the matchup with the Canucks less this season than in every other year of VGK’s existence, but I still like it. Vancouver’s defense has really picked it up this year and Thatcher Demko’s brilliance has been a key part of it. He’s currently sidelined and while he is expected back for the playoffs he may not quite be at his full powers in the first round. In addition, Vegas has always been able to score against the Canucks. The Golden Knights have scored 58 goals in 19 games against Vancouver and even mustered up 19 in the seven-game series during a postseason they struggled mightily to score. The challenge the Canucks will present Vegas will be how to match up. They have an excellent top line that has 83 goals between them, but their second line might be even more difficult to play against. Vegas’ center depth will come in handy in a series against Vancouver and ultimately they should be able to come out on top.

Dallas Stars
Record: 47-19-9 (103 points, .687 points percentage)
Goals For/Against Per Game: 3.68 / 2.93
vs. VGK: 3-0-0

Since the coaching changes that sent VGK’s former bench boss to Dallas and Bruce Cassidy from Boston to Vegas, the Golden Knights have owned the Stars. The main reason for this is the stylistic differences between the way the teams play under each coach. Dallas is looking for exactly what Vegas is willing to give up in the offensive zone and it’s why the Golden Knights typically come out on top. The Stars will have loads of possession and throw heaps of shots on goal, but the Golden Knights will block tons of them and send transition opportunities the other way. This Stars team does however have a bit more scoring touch than the one from last year, mainly due to the additions of Matt Duchene and Logan Stankoven to the lineup. Like every other matchup, Dallas is a dangerous team and are certainly capable of beating even a healthy Vegas, but until I see them do it a few times I’ll never believe a DeBoer team can beat a Cassidy one.

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37 Comments

  1. Josh

    I think this ranking is right on terms of “easiest” matchups. But I don’t care about that. I want to see the most I’m entertaining matchup for VGK. My ranking with the matchup I most want to see first.
    Edmonton – last years series was fun and I want a rematch.
    Colorado – They’re a phenomenal team things would need to end up working out perfect for them to meet in round 3.
    Dallas – same as above I just want to see Colorado more
    Vancouver – the question is whether the Canucks are real come playoff time. I don’t want Vegas to waste a playoff round figuring that out. If Vancouver is actually any good we’ll seem them in round 2.

  2. Pistol Pete

    I am not sure what prevented the Avs from being the Avs of old when they lost to the Kraken in round one but I’ll accept they made some additions to the roster that make them all the more difficult to beat in a series.

    • Jiri11

      Avs fan here. Last year’s team didn’t have the depth at forward that the 2022 team had, and then lost even more depth during that series when Nichushkin stepped away. They also had some key injuries at the worst possible time, and Cale Makar was suspended for a critical game. The deadline pieces they added this year, plus potentially a draft pick in Kovalenko, make it an entirely different team with more depth scoring and a huge improvement in sand paper & penalty killing.

      • Pistol Pete

        Jiri11, thanks for your insights. Very informative! Sorry for the delayed response.

  3. Pistol Pete

    Heading down the stretch we get two looks at VAN and one of EDM so it could be a meaningful preview of the playoffs. They games will certainly be played with the intensity of the postseason.

  4. Emmanuel

    Avs & Kings have players who have won a Cup, so they are a threat.

    The least concerning is the Canucks and Stars they are sissies.

    Oil are wildcards because they have 3 legit franchise players and if even 1 gets hot they are trouble. Home ice may not matter against them, our coach doesnt seem to care about matchups.

    • Patrick

      Look forward to meeting up again in the playoffs . ⭐️

      Assuming the Knights hang on & don’t tank down the stretch. Been an up and down year for you guys

  5. knights fan in minny

    line them up

  6. NAM

    In reply to the article. I am not sure Cassidy’s VGK have “owned” Deboer’s Stars. Maybe got the better of is more appropriate. Deboer started 3-0 last year. Cassidy 3-0 this year. Cassidy won the playoffs 4-2 last year. This year TBD. So a record of 7-5 is not owning, but since Cassidy got the playoff round win I would definitely say he has gotten the better of Deboer’s stars. It’s a dumb argument all around, but reading the whole article it stood out to me.

  7. Jack Hammer

    Here’s a little somethin’ bout a brotha like me
    Never shoulda been let out the penitentiary
    Ice Cube would like ta say
    That I’m a crazy mothafucka from around the way
    Since I was a youth, I smoked weed out
    Now I’m the mutha fucka that ya read about
    Takin’ a life or two that’s what the hell I do
    You don’t like how I’m livin well fuck you
    This is a gang, and I’m in it
    My man Dre’ll fuck you up in a minute
    With a right left, right left you toothless
    And then you say goddamn they ruthless!
    Everywhere we go they say (damn)
    N W A’s fuckin’ up tha program
    And then you realize we don’t care
    We don’t just say no, we to busy sayin’ yeah!
    About drinkin” straight out the eight bottle
    Do I look like a mutha fuckin role model?
    To a kid lookin’ up ta me
    Life ain’t nothin’ but bitches and money
    ‘Cause I’m tha type o’ nigga that’s built ta last
    If ya fuck wit me I’ll put a foot in ya ass
    See I don’t give a fuck ’cause I keep bailin’
    Yo, what the fuck are they yellin”
    Gangsta, Gangsta! That’s what they’re yellin’
    It’s not about a salary, it’s all about reality”
    Gangsta, Gangsta! That’s what they’re yellin’
    “Hopin you sophisticated motherfuckers hear what I have to say”
    When me and my posse stepped in the house
    All the punk-ass brothas start breakin’ out
    ‘Cause you know, they know whassup
    So we started lookin’ for the bitches with the big butts
    Like her, but she keep cryin’
    “I got a boyfriend” Bitch stop lyin’
    Dumb-ass hooker ain’t nuttin’ but a dyke
    Suddenly I see, some niggas that I don’t like
    Walked over to em, and said, “Whassup?”
    The first nigga that I saw, hit em in the jaw
    Ren started stompin’ em, and so did E
    By that time got rushed by security
    Out the door, but we don’t quit
    Ren said, “Let’s start some shit!”
    I got a shotgun, and here’s the plot
    Takin’ niggas out with a flurry of buckshots
    Boom boom boom, yeah I was gunnin
    And then you look, all you see is niggas runnin’
    And fallin’ and yellin’ and pushin and screamin’
    And cussin’, I stepped back, and I kept bustin’
    And then I realized it’s time for me to go
    So I stopped, jumped in the vehicle
    It’s like this, because of that who-ride
    N.W.A. is wanted for a homicide
    ‘Cause I’m the type of nigga that’s built to last
    Fuck wit me, I’ll put my foot in your ass
    See I don’t give a fuck, ’cause I keep bailin’
    Yo, what the fuck are they yellin’?
    Gangsta, Gangsta! That’s what they’re yellin’
    It’s not about a salary, it’s all about reality”
    Gangsta, Gangsta! That’s what they’re yellin’
    “Hopin’ you sophisticated motherfuckers hear what I have to say”
    “He’ll tell you exactly how he feel, and don’t want a fuckin’ thing back”
    Homies all standin’ around, just hangin’
    Some dope-dealin’, some gang-bangin’
    We decide to roll and we deep
    See a nigga on Dayton’s and we creep
    Real slow, and before you know
    I had my shotgun pointed in the window
    He got scared, and hit the gas
    Right then, I knew I has to smoke his ass
    He kept rollin’, I jumped in the bucket
    We couldn’t catch him, so I said fuck it
    Then we headed right back to the fort
    Sweatin’ all the bitches in the biker shorts
    We didn’t get no play, from the ladies
    With six brothas in a car are you crazy?
    She was scared, and it was showin’
    We all said “Fuck you bitch!” and kept goin’
    To the hood, and we was fin to
    Find somethin’ else to get into
    Like some pussy, or in fact
    A bum rush, but we call it rat pack
    On a nigga for nothin’ at all
    Ice Cube’ll go stupid when I’m full of eight ball
    I might stumble, but still won’t lose
    Now I’m dressed in the county blues
    ‘Cause I’m the type of brotha that’s built to last
    If you Fuck with me, I’ll put my foot in your ass
    I don’t give a fuck, ’cause I keep bailin’
    Yo, what the fuck are they yellin’?
    Here’s a lil gangsta, short in size
    A t-shirt and Levi’s is his only disguise
    Built like a tank yet hard to hit
    Ice Cube and Eazy E cold runnin’ shit
    Well I’m Eazy E the one they’re talkin’ about
    Nigga tried to roll the dice and just crapped out
    Police tried to roll, so it’s time to go
    I creeped away real slow and jumped in the six-fo’
    Wit the “Diamond in the back, sun-roof top”
    Diggin’ the scene with the gangsta lean
    ‘Cause I’m the E, I don’t slang or bang
    I just smoke motherfuckers like it ain’t no thang
    And all you bitches, you know I’m talkin’ to you
    “We want to fuck you Eazy!” I want to fuck you too
    ‘Cause you see, I don’t really take no shit
    ‘Cause I’m the type of brotha that’s built to last
    If you Fuck wit me, I’ll put my foot in your ass
    I don’t give a fuck, ’cause I keep bailin’
    Yo, what the fuck are they yellin’?
    Gangsta, Gangsta! That’s what they’re yellin’
    It’s not about a salary, it’s all about reality”
    Gangsta, Gangsta! That’s what they’re yellin’
    “Hopin you sophisticated motherfuckers hear what I have to say”
    Gangsta, Gangsta! That’s what they’re yellin’
    It’s not about a salary, it’s all about reality”
    Gangsta, Gangsta! That’s what they’re yellin’
    “Hopin you sophisticated motherfuckers hear what I have to say”

    • knights fan in minny

      are you serious here we go again hammer trash

    • TS

      Um……
      Jack, do you know this is a HOCKEY site? Perhaps you mistakenly thought Sinbin was about SIN. It’s about HOCKEY. Holy Cow….

    • Pistol Pete

      Smells like more ThQ plagiarism!

  8. Carl

    Honestly, it’s hard to feel optimistic about this current VGK team getting out of the first round. No Stone is bad. Scoring drying up. Darth Hill hurt again…This team ain’t last years’ 900 pound gorilla, beating up on 97 pound weaklings at will.

    • Emmanuel

      Youre assuming Stone doesnt rise from the dead game 1 of round 1 & then theres a healthy Hertl & Pietro…….It would not be prudent to count them out.

    • knights fan in minny

      kill joy

    • Pistol Pete

      We’ll see if armchair coach Carl is correct in not being optimistic when it comes to the VGK making it past the first round. A slump these last 8 games withstanding , players and coaches on the teams that stand to meet the VGK in the first round would probably rather play another team and they unlike armchair coach/player “fans” know a
      great deal more about what they are talking about.

  9. Pistol Pete

    Hertl practiced today in a red no-contact jersey. I would expect him to travel on this last three game roadtrip where he could play as early as Friday in Arizona. My prospective lineup:

    Barbashev-Eichel-Marchessault
    Stephenson-Hertl-Amadio
    Dorofeyev-Karlsson-Mantha
    Carrier/Howden/Cotter-Roy-Kolesar

    • Emmanuel

      Add Stone, drop Amadio to the 4th & you got a cup winner!

      • Pistol Pete

        That is how I would do it. Scratch Carrier, Howden and Cotter. Scratching Carrier does seem like a stretch though. It could be Dorofeyev. Amadio-Karlsson-Mantha. Carrier-Roy-Kolesar.

  10. Pistol Pete

    It is April Fool’s Day but no that is really him!

    https://x.com/goldenknights/status/1774862163125133744?s=46

  11. ThG

    past performance disclaimer

    It happens in sports, it happens in entertainment, and it happens in the markets.
    How many times has a star player or team had a glorious run of success only to
    choke in a crucial game? Even a top-rated movie producer or actor has a dud in their
    resume.
    Investing is much the same. Past performance is no
    guarantee of future results.
    There’s a reason this “warning label” is included in
    every document that discusses the performance of a
    particular fund, asset class or strategy or NHL game or series. That’s because
    when it comes to financial markets and sports, circumstances can
    change—sometimes quickly and unexpectedly. Anyone
    who lived through the dot bust of the early 2000s, or
    the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007/08 or the COVID-19
    pandemic or MAF many muffs is well aware of this possibility.
    The facts bear this out.
    The annual S&P Persistence Scorecard is one way to
    measure whether an active fund manager at the top
    of their game can stay at the top. In short, does past
    performance predict future performance?
    Invariably, the scorecard finds that regardless of asset
    class or style focus, few fund managers consistently
    outperform their peers. Same with odds makers, only Vegas
    NHL hockey is barely surviving.

    According to the 2020 scorecard, fund managers are
    unlikely to remain at the top of the heap for more than
    a few years. Of the 144 funds that ranked in the top
    quartile of their respective style category in 2016, just
    one fund remained in the top quartile annually through
    2020. In fact, over an even longer time frame, top-quartile
    Canadian Equity funds for 2011-2015 were more likely to
    revert to the bottom quartile for 2016-2020.”

    • Pistol Pete

      Was that all you or was some or all of it plagiarized? Not accusing you per se just curious.

  12. JB

    Personally I would rather not see Edmonton in first round, although I admit the AVs will also be a tuff matchup!

    • knights fan in minny

      they will all be tough

      • Bobby

        Exactly, no easy draws this time. Florida will probably sail through in the East.

        • GoKnightsGo

          Florida has lost 9 of the last 10 and MTL made them look baaad last night.

  13. Wayne

    Let’s focus on one game at a time right now and then we can take a look at the matchups . We still have 8 games left . I’m very hopeful the Knights go on a run , but let’s be patient.

  14. Pistol Pete

    Lot of upsets today including Avs losing 4-1 in Columbus. Sound familiar? Kings lose in regulation though the Jets were favored, good for the VGK. Oilers lose in St. Louis in OT giving the VGK the chance to get within 3 of EDM with a win vs. VAN on Tuesday.

    • NAM

      EDM is +5 with a game in hand. I really don’t see VGK catching them unless EDM flat out nose dived the rest of the their games and VGK won all of theirs. VGK has VANx2, EDM, MIN, and AVS still left. Not cup cake match ups. Not impossible, but not likely either.

  15. niggles

    ThG = The Hockey God

    “Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots

    And ruined your black tie affair

    The last one to know, the last one to show

    I was the last one you thought you’d see there

    And I saw the surprise and the fear in his eyes

    When I took his glass of champagne

    And I toasted you, said, “Honey, we may be through

    But you’ll never hear me complain”

    ‘Cause I’ve got friends in low places
    Where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away

    And I’ll be OK

    Yeah, I’m not big on social graces

    Think I’ll slip on down to the oasis

    Oh, I’ve got friends in low places
    Well, I guess I was wrong, I just don’t belong

    But then I’ve been there before
    Everything’s all right, I’ll just say good night

    And I’ll show myself to the door
    Hey, I didn’t mean to cause a big scene

    Just give me an hour and then
    Well, I’ll be as high as that ivory tower

    That you’re livin’ in

    ‘Cause I’ve got friends in low places
    Where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away

    And I’ll be OK

    Yeah, I’m not big on social graces
    Think I’ll slip on down to the oasis

    Oh, I’ve got friends in low places
    Oh, I’ve got friends in low places
    Where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away
    And I’ll be OK

    Yeah, I’m not big on social graces
    Think I’ll slip on down to the oasis

    Oh, I’ve got friends in low places
    Yeah, I’ve got friends in low places
    Where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away

    And I’ll be OK

    Yeah, I’m not big on social graces
    Think I’ll slip on down to the oasis

    Oh, I’ve got friends in low places
    Yeah, I’ve got friends in low places

    Where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away

    And I’ll be OK”

  16. Pistol Pete

    Jiri11, thanks for your insights above on last year’s
    Avs vs. this year. Very informative! Sorry for the delayed response. Surprising inability to finish against the BlueJackets yesterday landing 46 shots to 25. Just goes to show anything can happen in any one given game!

  17. NAM

    Excited for playoff hockey, but with a high probability of EDM being the VGK’s opponent I am not looking forward to the national broadcast team spending 4 to 7 games talking only about McDavid and Draisaitl. It is fucking relentless. Still shell shocked from last year.

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