For the Vegas Golden Knights, the ride was fun

Sunday concluded the Vegas Golden Knights's historic Stanleyrun. But their Stanley Cup window is now.
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Seven
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Seven / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Sitting in the office today, I had a look drawn to the ceiling. There was a lifeless feeling, like there was a massive void.

"What was missing in my life?" I asked.

It turns out the freshly eliminated Vegas Golden Knights were out, being vanquished by the Dallas Stars. Inside was a hole of emptiness, knowing the Golden Knights wouldn't be officially back until October.

They say all good things must come to an end, whether it's good times or Stanley Cup runs. That was the case for the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday, who fell to the Stars, 2-1. With the loss, the Golden Knights were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, ending their reign as the defending champions.

That reign saw the Golden Knights compete in a Winter Classic, get plenty of airtime on premier networks like TNT, and put them at the NHL's forefront. With their championship, everyone was paying attention to Vegas. That's the gift of having a target on your back.

But that target's been taken out by the Stars and a familiar face in Pete DeBoer. With the Western Conference's best regular season team moving on, they'll get the chance to face the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2022, so Dallas can eliminate another recent champion.

As for the Golden Knights, there are several questions revolving around the team.

"Who's coming back for next season?"

"What will Vegas do with their limited cap space?"

"What will the Golden Knights do with their starting goaltending?"

The Vegas Golden Knights reflect upon this season

The final game on Sunday itself yielded plenty of questions regarding the Vegas Golden Knights. What happened to the scoring? What if Bruce Cassidy didn't shuffle the lineup after the second game? These are something that Golden Knights fans will wonder throughout the offseason, as they wish for a different outcome.

However, fans shouldn't feel too bad about the outcome. First, their team was the Stanley Cup champions. That's an honor 31 other teams dream of holding. Some franchises (see the Buffalo Sabres) never even get the opportunity to sniff the playoffs. For the Golden Knights, that's become a regular occurrence.

The pieces are there for the Vegas Golden Knights

Second, they have the pieces in place for another Stanley Cup run. They finally got their big body for the power play in Tomas Hertl. The result was scoring on 46.7% of the man advantage in their last six regular season games. It might take a little bit of time for the unit to gel. However, the pieces are there.

Finally, they persevered through numerous injuries throughout the season. Even with the team losing key pieces like Jack Eichel and William Karlsson, the Vegas Golden Knights kept chugging along. Granted, some bumps in the road hurt the team during the season. However, Vegas hung on and clinched a playoff spot. It was thanks to clutch moments like Jonathan Marchessault scoring with 17 seconds left on March 12.

Next season, the Vegas Golden Knights will face stiffer competition, with the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers looming. However, this past year was incredible for Golden Knights fans. It showed the hockey world why Las Vegas was a passionate hockey town, filled with numerous memories and moments. Who knows? Maybe the Stanley Cup will book another flight to Las Vegas in the upcoming years.