The Vegas Golden Knights will look to see if they can continue their historic inaugural season run when they take on the San Jose Sharks in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The San Jose Sharks and Las Vegas Golden Knights will square off in Round 2 after both teams swept their Southern California opponents, the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings. Vegas continues its on unbelievable run this this inaugural season. What they have done thus far is nearly win the top seed in the Western Conference and record the best record ever for an expansion team in NHL history. Vegas will look to continue to do the things that it has done all season long which led the team to one of the most successful first season franchise starts in NHL history and a dominating performance in Round 1.
The Sharks, knowing what it’s like to be a expansion franchise — although 27 plus years removed from doing so — have actually had a taste of the playoffs over the last couple of seasons. In fact, they were the representative of the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup finals just a few seasons ago, losing to the Penguins in six games. The Sharks look like they are on a mission this postseason and will look to continue their dominant forechecking style with a mix of skill players and one of the better goalies in the NHL this year in Martin Jones.
Can Vegas keep winning with house money?
You know Vegas they can win this series. The Golden Knights just played what most experts would tell you is the same type of team in the Los Angeles Kings. So what do they need to do to take down their second-round series? It’s simple: If Marc-Andre Fleury plays they way he has played really all season, the Knights should already be in every game in this series.
So, check, world-class and, oh, by the way, last year’s Stanley Cup-winning goalie. As soon as we get past that obvious observation, the question really becomes can Vegas continue this improbable run? It can as long as it continues to do what it has done all season and into the playoffs.
Let’s not name the entire roster for Vegas, but point out that Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Alex Tuch and Eric Haula, along with veteran James Neal, have to continue to play the way they played in the first round series against the Kings. Karlsson is really the biggest question mark. He did have a goal in the first series, but for the most part matched up against the King’s top line, and the two lines really cancelled each other out. Vegas has to have its stars produce if it plans on getting past Sharks and continuing on this dream season.
Shea Theodore and Pierre Bellemere were probably the most productive Knights in Round 1. Theodore is the prototypical offensive minded defenseman and was huge in the Kings series. Bellemere was a shot blocking machine and played 51 percent of the time with a plus goal against average in the series.
Break out the Kool-Aid. There is no reason that Vegas can’t win this series, once you get over the where it plays factor and the expansion factor. The bottom line is this team is playing like any team that has ever won a Stanley Cup. The expectation is that they will keep games tight and do what they have done all season — wear teams down with their offensive talent and menacing attack. This won’t be as easy as the Kings made it for them, as the Sharks have some highly talented players of their own. In the end, the dream continues as the Knights win it in six.