The Biggest Test Yet for the Vegas Golden Knights Starts This Week

The Vegas Golden Knights are rolling at the right time, earning points to stay ahead in the playoff race. But they'll face the biggest challenge this week.
Columbus Blue Jackets v Vegas Golden Knights
Columbus Blue Jackets v Vegas Golden Knights / Candice Ward/GettyImages

The Vegas Golden Knights are no strangers to adversity. This season, the defending champions have been hit with a wave of injuries, devastating their depth. There have also been issues with the power play, hurting the Golden Knights offensively.

But the Golden Knights have rebounded nicely, winning five of their last seven. As a result, they've established themselves in the playoff race, keeping up with the Los Angeles Kings along the way.

However, the defending champs have a huge test starting Monday against the St. Louis Blues. Monday's game starts a four-game road trip in the middle of North America, facing teams such as the red-hot Nashville Predators.

The Vegas Golden Knights Must Bring Their A-Game

Of course, this is an obvious statement to make. However, the Vegas Golden Knights can easily fall out of the playoff race if they slump throughout the trip. That's especially true with the Golden Knights facing the Blues and Minnesota Wild, teams behind Vegas in the standings.

After that, matters get harder. The Golden Knights will face the Vancouver Canucks (twice), the Colorado Avalanche, and the Edmonton Oilers. These games will determine where Vegas stands at the end of the season. Will we see the Golden Knights ahead or will we see a repeat of 2021-2022?

How the Vegas Golden Knights Can Make the Trip Seamless

For starters, the power play must be better. That means no turnovers and poor puck handling. This has been an issue for the Vegas Golden Knights after the All-Star Break, with puck mismanagement leading to some juicy opportunities for short-handed goals.

That's a major part of why the Golden Knights rank 21st in power play percentage entering Sunday. Miscues on the man-advantage have given opponents a chance not only to score goals, but build momentum. That must change.

Another thing the Golden Knights must do is rely on their in-house goaltender depth. Adin Hill left Saturday's game with an injury, raising concerns about depth at the position. Granted, Logan Thompson has played much better. However, what will the Golden Knights do when the Calgary native isn't starting?

That's where limiting shots come in. The Golden Knights have done an excellent shot reducing shots on goal in the past four games, allowing 86 shots on goal. If Vegas can continue to impose their forecheck and generate pressure, their goaltenders will thank them later.