It all comes down to today for the Vegas Golden Knights.
After serving up heroics to beat both the Dallas Stars and the St. Louis Blues, the No. 1 seed for the Stanley Cup Playoffs is on the line for the Vegas Golden Knights.
All they need to do to claim such a prize is to beat the Colorado Avalanche, who are seen by many as one of the favorites to lift Lord Stanley along with the Knights.
This is a real winner-take-all matchup given that both teams could steal the No. 1 seed, while the worst the Avs or the Golden Knights could do is finish with the No. 2 seed.
Given the firepower both teams boast, this should be an absolute doozy, and we’ve put together the three keys to winning today’s game for the Vegas Golden Knights…
Key 1 – All Hands To The Pump
Depth was an issue for the Golden Knights throughout the 2019-20 regular season, and you can’t be successful in the postseason unless you have contributions from up and down the line up.
And, it has been a case of so far so good in these round-robin games.
Eleven different players scored a point in the Knights’ 6-4 win over the Blues on Thursday, while 10 players got on the stat sheet during the 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars on Monday.
That is a good sign going forward and Vegas will need more of the same against the Avs today, who are absolutely loaded themselves.
This can also be seen as one last dress rehearsal before Round 1 of the actual Stanley Cup Playoffs, so those players lower down the lineup will need to impress or risk losing their spot on the roster with studs in the ilk of Peyton Krebs and Dylan Coghlan waiting in the wings.
Key 2 – One last chance
Having opted to alternate his two elite goalies during the exhibition and round-robin games, Vegas Head Coach Peter DeBoer will give Robin Lehner the start for today’s winner-takes-all game.
Lehner allowed three goals and made 24 saves in a 5-3 win against the Dallas Stars on Monday, and he’ll be tasked with stopping Colorado’s glut of offensive weapons today.
While Marc-Andre Fleury will more than likely be the undisputed starter for Round 1, it will still be important for Lehner to put on a clinic against the Avalanche and settle into a rhythm.
After all, should Fleury get hurt or struggle, then the Golden Knights will have no problem turning to Lehner to help save the day.
Key 3 – Putting the Power into the PP
The Golden Knights scored two power play goals against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, although they went 0/2 against the Dallas Stars.
As is the case with elite goaltending and depth, special teams play a huge role in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and today’s game is the final chance for the power play to iron out any kinks.
With Max Pacioretty expected back at some point, the Golden Knights have the weapons to produce one of the best power plays in the entire NHL, and that will need to be the case if they are to achieve their ultimate goal this year.
So today’s matchup against the Colorado Avalanche will be important when it comes to getting some practice in on the PP.
Practice makes perfect, after all.