Why the upcoming week is make-or-break for the Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights are in the thick of a playoff race. But this upcoming week will determine their fortunes for the rest of the season.
Detroit Red Wings v Vegas Golden Knights
Detroit Red Wings v Vegas Golden Knights / Candice Ward/GettyImages

It's a cliched expression, but the Vegas Golden Knights have a make-or-break pair of games this upcoming week. With a brief northwest trip to Seattle and Calgary, the Golden Knights must lock up as many points as possible. With a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, the upcoming trip is a "golden" opportunity for Vegas to build momentum.

This is especially true after the Vegas Golden Knights went all-in at the NHL trade deadline. When a team acquires three superstars to cure their losing ways, that's what must be done. After all, the competition is given a "golden" opportunity when that same team has earned points in only three of their previous 11 games entering Saturday's contest against Detroit.

But let's steer away from the puns and focus on why this upcoming northwest trip is vital. What makes this upcoming pair of road games important for the Golden Knights's chances of repeating?

The competition heats up

The Seattle Kraken and Calgary Flames sit at 67 points, eight points behind the Vegas Golden Knights (75) for the final playoff spot. One might think:

"Eight points isn't significant! There's plenty of distance between Vegas and the competition."

Here's the catch: Seattle and Calgary aren't the only teams vying for that final spot. The St. Louis Blues (also with 67 points) and the Minnesota Wild (69 points) are also gunning for a playoff position.

In fact, four of the next seven games for the Golden Knights are against teams vying for that final playoff spot. It's an opportunity to separate themselves from the pack. If Vegas can get points in these crucial games, it also helps their rankings by...

Catching up with the front runners

On the note of the next seven games, only one of those is against a team currently in the playoff picture (Tampa Bay). Before the home stretch gets more difficult for Vegas, it's a good opportunity to gain points and get better positioning.

Edmonton has some easy upcoming games that should garner some points for them. But their next road trip is tough, consisting of games against Toronto and Winnipeg. It might be a stretch to catch up to the Oilers. But it's still possible if Vegas gets on the right track.

The Los Angeles Kings also have an easy stretch after their tough matchup against a red-hot New York Islanders team. But after their game against Minnesota on March 20, they'll play teams currently in playoff position for four of the next five games.

This won't mean the Golden Knights will be out of playoff contention. However, if the new Golden Knights unit meshes together well, it could create a significant run that catapults them into better positioning. Of course, it's contingent on if the Vegas Golden Knights can get out of their way. Otherwise, going all-in will be all for naught, with an early playoff exit looming.