Clinching a Playoff Spot Wasn't Supposed to be This "Wild"

Nobody said it would be easy. But the Vegas Golden Knights are heading back to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Minnesota Wild v Vegas Golden Knights
Minnesota Wild v Vegas Golden Knights / Candice Ward/GettyImages

Nobody said it would be easy. Heck, as I was typing this article, I was worried it wouldn't see the light of day. But for the sixth time in seven seasons, the Vegas Golden Knights are heading back to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Thanks to the St. Louis Blues losing to the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-2, and the Golden Knights winning against Minnesota, 7-2, Vegas is playing playoff hockey.

Granted, it's been a roller coaster of emotions for Golden Knights fans all season. First, they became the first defending Stanley Cup champions to win their first seven games and started 11-0-1. Then, they lost key players like Shea Theodore and Adin Hill. Then, they got cold from late December to mid-January.

After that, they went on a roll for a month, only to lose numerous players and falter the next. Then, they got hot, only to run into a grueling three-game road trip that included a terrible third-period collapse. But they're officially going back to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Sometimes, life's like a roller coaster.

The Journey is Reaching the Destination

From the hot start to the barren stretch of games starting on February 12, the Vegas Golden Knights have dealt with a wave of emotions. That included injuries to numerous key players and a productive trade deadline. In the end, it led the Golden Knights to get back to the playoffs for their title defense.

Granted, there are some games the Golden Knights wish they had back. From their crucial game on March 26 against Nashville to last week's dud against Arizona, Vegas missed an opportunity to gain more points. However, the thing that matters now involves the Golden Knights clinching.

So What's Next for the Vegas Golden Knights?

Up next is a mixture of playoff possibilities, starting with a potential Western Conference Finals rematch between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars. The Golden Knights are quite familiar with the Stars and their style of play. After all, they know head coach Pete DeBoer and his coaching style quite well.

But for both teams, they've reloaded and gained new stars. For the Golden Knights, they added Anthony Mantha, Noah Hanifin, and Tomas Hertl. For the Stars, they acquired Chris Tanev. But that's not the only rematch possibility out there.

The Edmonton Oilers would await if the Golden Knights bump up to third place in the Pacific Division and Vancouver wins the Pacific. Like both Dallas and Vegas, Edmonton gained new stars by adding Corey Perry and Adam Henrique. It's no secret both teams will be challenging if Vegas faces one or the other. If Edmonton wins the Pacific and the Golden Knights are in third, then it's Vancouver. That'll be another challenge unto itself.

In the meantime, the Vegas Golden Knights can rest easy knowing they don't have to worry about a redux of 2021-2022. Granted, it was never intended to be an easy task. However, this Golden Knights group is built for the job, thanks to winning and getting key players at the right time.