It is now up to the Vegas Golden Knights as to who they will face in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With the Vegas Golden Knights needing to beat the Colorado Avalanche today in order to secure the No.1 seed for the postseason, they know who they will face no matter what happens.
Following a wild Friday in the NHL in which five of six teams were eliminated, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Arizona Coyotes won their Best-of-Five series to set up a Round 1 matchup with the Golden Knights and the Avalanche.
Should the Knights beat the Avs today and take the No.1 seed then they will take on the Chicago Blackhawks, but a loss will set up a matchup against the Arizona Coyotes.
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There is no such thing as an easy matchup in the Stanley Cup Playoffs but, as we mapped out here, the Blackhawks are probably the toughest of the two teams.
Vegas should be confident going up against any team given their wealth of riches on the roster, but both the Blackhawks and the Coyotes are hungry and both played with a real swagger and nothing-to-lose attitudes as we saw during the Qualifying Round.
For reference, the Knights went 2-1-0 against the Blackhawks during the 2019-20 regular season and 2-1-0 against the Coyotes.
They averaged 3.33 Goals For and 2.33 Goals Against Vs. the Hawks, and 2.33 Goals For and 2.00 Goals Against Vs. Arizona.
Of course, what happened during the regular season goes out of the window when it comes to the war of attrition that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Matchups will be decided by elite goaltending, special teams and contributions from up and down the lineup.
Again, the Golden Knights will fancy their chances against both the Blackhawks and the Coyotes, but the former certainly cause some concern given their lethal mix of youth and experience coupled with size and skill.
And there is an added caveat at play here.
Granting the wishes of their players, the NHL opted to reseed the Playoffs after every round this year.
What does that mean?
Well, in simple terms, the higher the seed you are then the more favorable the matchups throughout the postseason.
So, for example, should the Golden Knights lose today and have to settle for the No. 2 seed, there is every chance they could face the St. Louis Blues in Round 2 should they get past the Coyotes.
That is looking too far ahead, of course, but it would be in Vegas’ best interest to take care of business today and take the No. 1 seed.
They know who awaits them in Round 1, win or lose, and now it is up to the Vegas Golden Knights to finish the round-robin games on a high.
Their destiny is now in their own hands.