How the Perception Changed About the Vegas Golden Knights

While it's not the perception one might think of the Vegas Golden Knights, this notion might disappear if Vegas finishes the job in the first round.
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Two
Vegas Golden Knights v Dallas Stars - Game Two / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Many experts were picking the Dallas Stars to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. Some picks were in overwhelming favor of the Texas-based team, with even a few picking a clean sweep of the defending champions. Talk about not getting any respect around the league.

It's not that the Golden Knights shouldn't be in the Stanley Cup playoffs. After all, winning the Stanley Cup and getting back to the playoffs is no small feat. However, the Stars were the best regular season team in the Western Conference. Experts were drawn to the offensive firepower and Jake Oettinger's clutch capabilities at goaltender.

However, it seems the Golden Knights are proving them wrong, running out to a 2-0 series lead against Dallas. Behind a stellar playoff performance from Logan Thompson and a high-performing top line, the defending champions are proving why they won it all last season.

In turn, they're also showing what it took to defeat the Dallas Stars last season. Behind immense defensive pressure, starting with a devastating forecheck, the Vegas Golden Knights head into Saturday's game at T-Mobile Arena up 2-0. It's a testament to their battle-tested mentality, going above and beyond when the lights are bright. But they're also proving the critics wrong in another fashion (and it's not the one a regular NHL fan would think).

The Vegas Golden Knights Are Suddenly Stanley Cup Favorites

Let's be real: The notion that the Vegas Golden Knights are circumventing the salary cap isn't going away. Whether you believe they're doing it or not, the theory that it's happening in Vegas and Mark Stone is happening across the league.

The Golden Knights are not even the first team to do this, either: Tampa Bay brought Nikita Kucherov back for their 2021 playoff run, taking them to the Stanley Cup. The rules are the rules and intelligent general managers will find ways to work those rules to their advantage. That's how teams win in this league, after all.

But that's not the preconceived notion that's being talked about here. Instead, it's about the Vegas Golden Knights not being Stanley Cup favorites. How could you not bet against the defending champions with a stacked roster?

Don't Bet Against Vegas

While the Vegas Golden Knights have had a roller coaster season, that doesn't mean they're not a threat to win the Stanley Cup. With a newfound strength in the power play and more offense to boot, it's hard to bet the house against Vegas.

When the playoffs started, the Golden Knights sat at +1200, according to SportsBettingDime. Now, they're sitting at +750 according to FanDuel, the second-best odds in the Western Conference (behind Edmonton's +700 odds). What a difference two games make, eh?

Entering the series, there was a slight lean in favor of the Dallas Stars. With an all-around tough offense and even tougher special teams, nobody was betting against the Stars. Now? It's all about the Golden Knights, with the defending champions at the front of the pack.