For the Vegas Golden Knights, the job's not done

While the Vegas Golden Knights had a successful road trip, there are still tough opponents looming. What do these opponents bring to the table?

Vegas Golden Knights v Minnesota Wild
Vegas Golden Knights v Minnesota Wild / David Berding/GettyImages

The Vegas Golden Knights have been rolling lately. Going 8-2-1 in their last 11 games, the Golden Knights also nabbed seven out of eight points in their most recent road trip. They've moved three points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division.

All seems fine and dandy in Sin City, with the Golden Knights turning the corner. However, that doesn't mean the upcoming schedule is letting up. In fact, the defending champions must still face some high-rolling teams in the upcoming weeks.

The Vegas Golden Knights Still Have a Tough Stretch Coming Up

The Vegas Golden Knights will face off against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. In case you didn't know, they're the Pacific Division leaders with 98 points entering Sunday. In fact, the Golden Knights have two more match-ups against the Canucks (April 2 and 8). With a young group led by defenseman Quinn Hughes, Vancouver is an up-and-coming team taking over the NHL.

But wait! There's more. The Golden Knights are also trying to catch the Edmonton Oilers in the Pacific Division, sitting four points back. They also have an upcoming game against Connor McDavid and company on April 10. That could determine who gets home-ice advantage in the first round (and potentially beyond). Aside from having the best player in the NHL, the Oilers have bolstered their overall scoring, making them more lethal. Adding Adam Henrique and Corey Perry can do that for a team.

Then there's the Colorado Avalanche on April 14, led by a Hart Trophy contender in Nathan MacKinnon. The Avalanche are 8-1-1 in their last ten games, ramping up their level of play before the postseason. With a devastating forward group and balanced scoring all-around, Colorado could become problematic when they face the Vegas Golden Knights in April.

What should the Vegas Golden Knights do?

So what do these teams all have in common? They're skilled teams offensively, with a focal point at the helm. Whether it's Colorado with MacKinnon or Edmonton with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, all three teams are scoring juggernauts that can quickly hike up the score.

What should the Vegas Golden Knights do? For one, they must stay out of the penalty box. Having 22 penalty minutes against Winnipeg last Thursday was simply unacceptable. Teams like Colorado and Edmonton feast on opponents making mistakes, letting their power plays finish the job. If the Golden Knights want to win, they must dominate special teams.

The Golden Knights must also continue to play back and put pressure on their opponents to commit turnovers. That means more of the forecheck and taking away the middle of the ice. Strip the shooting lanes away from these teams and the Golden Knights are on the attack.

The Golden Knights also do better on the rush, leaving opposing goaltenders to quickly adapt. That's going to be a challenge against teams like Vancouver, who's committing to playing better defensively. While the Avalanche adopts the same concept, Vegas must use it to its advantage, punishing the competition. If the Vegas Golden Knights can hold their own against the NHL's heavyweights, they're on their way to successfully defending the Stanley Cup.