Lighting the Lamp: Golden Knights keep it rolling


Welcome to Lighting the Lamp, a year-round NHL column. This week, we celebrate the Vegas Golden Knights advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.

This week’s Lighting the Lamp comes to you from 30,000 feet above Nevada somewhere, where I swear I can hear the city of Las Vegas celebrating after the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, winning their series 4-1.

Us hockey writers may sound like a broken record at this point, going on and on about how the Golden Knights are doing the unthinkable, about how unprecedented their success this season is, but the truth of the matter is that even the team didn’t think this was possible.

“We’ll be pretty good in three years and we’ll make a run in five or six,” Golden Knights owner Bill Foley said in August.

Well, the timeline got moved up just a bit. And while questions remain about whether the Golden Knights can remain competitive in the coming years, at this point in time, all that matters is that they’re a potential four games away from hoisting the Stanley Cup in their very first season.

No team has done that in any of the four major sports leagues since the St. Louis Blues in 1967-68, and the situations simply aren’t comparable.

If Vegas does win Lord Stanley’s Cup this postseason, it will be the first time all of the following players have clinched an NHL championship: center William Karlsson, winger Ryan Reaves, center Jonathan Marchessault, Nate Schmidt.

Now, the Golden Knights sit back and wait for the Eastern Conference Final, where the Tampa Bay Lightning are currently up on the Washington Capitals three games to two.

NHL power rankings

NHL team entrances

5. The Jets don’t take the ice through any cool animatronic creatures. But when they come out to the Top Gun theme, combined with the entire arena in a whiteout? Chills.

4. The Bruins taking the ice to “Back in Black.” Is the song a little tired? Sure. But it just works.

3. If you don’t agree that the Kings taking the ice to “Welcome to the Jungle” makes you want to run through a wall, you’re either a Sharks fan or a liar.

2. The Sharks skating out of the shark mouth.

1. Anything the Golden Knights do. I mean, look at this!

Lamp Lighters: The week’s best goals

First off, we can’t stop re-watching this Ryan Reaves goal that clinched the trip to the Final for the Golden Knights:

Cedric Paquette scored the Bolts’ first goal of Game 5 between the Lightning and Capitals a mere 19 seconds in:


Confession: One-timers that look like they could evade a radar gun are my favorite kinds of goals:

Right in the five-hole:

Coast to Coast: What you might have missed around the league

  • Marian Hossa is hanging up his skates after an extraordinary 19-year career. Over those seasons, Hossa scored at least 30 goals eight times and topped the 40-mark three times. It’s a shame that his final season with the Chicago Blackhawks ended with them missing the postseason altogether, but it certainly won’t tarnish what will remain a sparkling career.
  • The 2018 IIHF World Championship is in the books, with Sweden topping Switzerland 3-2 in a shootout to claim this year’s title, their second in as many years. Of course, Sweden benefited greatly from the Nashville Predators’ playoff campaign being cut short and Filip Forsberg joining the team in Denmark.
  • If you think your team might be in the John Tavares sweepstakes this offseason, it still doesn’t appear he’s made any strides toward extending his contract with the New York Islanders, reports his teammate Matthew Barzal. The Islanders are looking to lock Tavares down before he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.


1. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but the Pittsburgh Penguins’ decision to trade Reaves to the Golden Knights in exchange for Tobias Lindberg in a three-way trade with the Ottawa Senators just looks really, really foolish. By the end of the regular season, this was Reaves’ stat line with the Golden Knights: 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, plus/minus of minus-7. Of course, his only goal so far these playoffs was the one to clinch the series on Sunday, but that’s not a bad way to do it.

2. Chances are your fantasy hockey draft is still a couple months away, but it’s never too late to start thinking about how to shape your squad for next season. It’s been amazing to see so many players break out in these playoffs, from forwards J.T. Miller, Brayden Point, David Pastrnak and Alex Tuch. The top 50 or so picks in this year’s fantasy drafts will certainly look interesting compared to last year.

3.  The NHL is increasingly looking to the college level for its current crop of head coaches, and the New York Rangers appear to be the next team to continue the trend. Per the Boston Globe, the Rangers are expected to agree to a deal with Boston University’s David Quinn this week.

4. Given Vegas’ continued and improbable success, it’s interesting to ponder whether the NHL is encouraged about the expansion process currently in place or deeply worried. Sure, no one could have predicted that William Karlsson, who had six goals and 19 assists in the 2016-17 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, would explode for 78 points with the Golden Knights, including 43 goals. But questions remain as to whether the NHL will alter the expansion rules to make it more challenging for future teams such as the potential Seattle franchise

5. Surely you’ve noticed how frequently the home team has lost in these playoffs, but the tally might still surprise you. So far this NHL postseason, home teams are 34-40. There’s no one logical explanation for this phenomenon, but there are plenty of guesses, such as hometown fans becoming a hindrance instead of a help when they’re too emotionally invested in the outcomes of games. It’s worth noting that of the three teams remaining, Tampa Bay would earn home-ice advantage over the Golden Knights, but Vegas would have it over Washington.

Tweet of the week

It’s only fair.

For more from the NHL playoffs, make sure to follow FanSided and stay tuned to our NHL hub for all the latest news and results.