The Vegas Golden Knights are on their way to the Western Conference Final.
It wasn’t easy but the Vegas Golden Knights got the job done to eliminate the plucky Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 and advance.
It wasn’t easy at all.
But overcoming adversity is the one true hallmark of a great champion and we could look back on this series as the defining moment in a championship run should the Golden Knights go on to win the Stanley Cup.
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They will have to get past a loaded and big Dallas Stars team who won their own Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche, but more on that later.
First, let’s give credit where credit is due because, with the pressure really on, the Golden Knights rose to the occasion and answered the bell.
With the scars of that Game 7 collapse to the San Jose Sharks after blowing a 3-1 series lead last year still visibly on show, you could have been forgiven for feeling a dreaded sense of Deja Vu prior to Friday’s game.
After all, the Golden Knights had lost consecutive games to allow the Canucks to even the series at 3-3, with Thatcher Demko proving impossible to breach between the pipes.
You could almost pre-write the story. Demko, who had stopped 90 shots in his first two career postseason games, stands on his head again in Game 7 to eliminate the Golden Knights and spark maybe a summer of serious change in Sin City.
After all, it would have been the second consecutive year the Knights had been eliminated early, and the second consecutive year they had blown a 3-1 series lead.
Thankfully, this current vintage stepped up to the plate, showed what they are made of and got the job done.
They figured out a way to solve the enigma that was Demko while shutting down the Canucks’ potent offense.
And they did it by overcoming a boat load of adversity.
It would have been easy for the Golden Knights to implode again with the haunting memories of last year still fresh in their minds, but they dug in, navigated a tricky first two periods and stuck to the game plan.
And they were richly rewarded in the third period.
The Golden Knights have also had to deal with a goalie controversy inside The Bubble with it being proven emphatically that Robin Lehner is Peter DeBoer’s guy.
That hasn’t pleased a lot of the fanbase, some of which still aren’t sold on DeBoer, who are sticking by face of the franchise Marc-Andre Fleury.
That storm, which was started by Fleury’s agent Allan Walsh and that now infamous Tweet, could have rocked the boat and it looked like it did for a couple of minutes.
But these Vegas Golden Knights are made of tough stuff and it almost seems predestined that they will win the Stanley Cup this year.
Of course, they will have to get past a rejuvenated Dallas Stars team first and then either the Tampa Bay Lightning or the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Final.
But you have to go through the bad to get to, and then appreciate the good, and the Golden Knights have already been tested on this journey.
They passed the ultimate test against the Vancouver Canucks, banished the demons of a year ago and they now look ready and equipped to overcome anymore adversity that may come their way and deliver this franchise its first Stanley Cup.