We are officially at the midway point of the 2019-20 NHL regular season and the Vegas Golden Knights look to be in good shape.
With 45 games played, the Vegas Golden Knights are now over halfway through the year with a 24-15-6 record, including 14-7-3 at T-Mobile Arena.
And, perhaps most importantly, the Golden Knights sit atop the Pacific Division with a two-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes, and a four-point advantage over the surging Vancouver Canucks.
It hasn’t been perfect and it hasn’t always been straightforward, though, and you just need to glance at the dreadful 5-6-3 record in November to figure that out.
The Knights also haven’t put together a winning run of more than four games this year, compared to the Canucks who are currently riding an eight-game winning streak.
Teams in the ilk of the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals, two leading contenders in the NHL this season, have both been on substantial winning streaks this year and one of the main hallmarks of a championship caliber team is consistency.
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That quality has evaded the Golden Knights for much of the regular season so far, as evidenced by the lack of a significant block of positive results.
However, the tide seems to be turning.
Because, after steamrolling their way through December, a historically good month for this franchise, with a superb 9-4-2 record, the Golden Knights have begun 2020 with consecutive wins.
In total, Vegas has now won four consecutive games for the second time this year, including a statement win against the reigning Stanley Cup champions the St. Louis Blues on Saturday after digging themselves out of a three-goal hole.
And, with three games left on this current long homestand, the Knights will have the perfect opportunity to carve out their longest winning streak of the year and, as a result, tighten their grip on the Pacific Division.
It is also the way this team is putting wins on the board that has been so impressive, too.
From responding to adversity by producing an absolute dominant display to beat the Arizona Coyotes and clinch top spot in the Pacific, to overturning a three goal deficit to stun the best team in the Western Conference in overtime, the Knights are starting to resemble the team we all thought they were.
They are getting solid goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban is finally stepping out of the shadows to morph into a capable and reliable backup, and the defense is getting it done by committee.
The same can be said of that potent top six unit led by Max Pacioretty who is on pace for a career-year and is arguably playing the best hockey of his life.
Yes, there are concerns over the lack of secondary scoring and this team isn’t without flaws, especially on the blueline, but expect the front office to be active at the Trade Deadline in order to address those concerns.
That aside, the Vegas Golden Knights are starting to hot up at just the right time and the rest of the NHL should be on high alert.
They have the pieces and the firepower in abundance to wrap up the Pacific Division and then to embark on a deep postseason run, coupled with a bucketload of experience in that locker room which is a vital ingredient in the recipe for playoff success.
Granted, there are still some kinks to be ironed out but that will happen in due course as the Knights, under the steady leadership of Head Coach Gerard Gallant, continue to hit their stride.
So, while the first half of the 2019-20 regular season wasn’t always plain sailing, expect the second half to feature a hell of a lot of winning for the Vegas Golden Knights.
And, hopefully, that will continue long into the postseason.