With another win over the Anaheim Ducks, a playoff spot clinched and three days off, it’s smart and safe mode for the Vegas Golden Knights. Up two games and four points over the Colorado Avalanche, the first place Golden Knights have been rewarded with two full days off.
Two days off may not seem like a lot to most. A large majority of the North American population works a five day week, with two days off. It’s standard, normal, not noteworthy. In this year’s NHL, two days off are far from standard and could be crucial down the stretch.
Condensing the NHL season to 56 games has presented each club with unique challenges. COVID quarantines, game cancellations and reschedules, and makeshift lineups have been prevalent all year. Along with that, there has been very little time to rest and regroup, despite the need for it due to the condensed slate.
This is just the sixth time the Vegas Golden Knights have had two or more days between games. Postponements came early for the VGK, with a hiatus coming at the end of January due to The COVID
Two Day Off Occurrences (by Month):
A Sunday-Monday off could be crucial for the Golden Knights, as they prepare for a tough stretch to finish the season. It’s been a three-dog race in the Honda West division and as the final games are played, a fourth seed will eventually emerge from the four teams with a chance of securing it.
Following their two days off and a practice day on Tuesday, the Golden Knights will start the conclusion of their regular season. Eight of their final nine games come against teams in the Top-5 of the division.
Minnesota has been a tough go over the past four seasons and they’ll host on May 3 and 5. Vegas has ground out a 2-3-0 record to this point against this 2020-21 version of the Wild. Kirill Kaprizov has been a force for the Wild and Cam Talbot’s resurgence has been downright inspiring.
While the Avalanche need no introduction, as a dangerous force to be reckoned with, they are on the mend with an alarming amount of players out with injuries or on COVID protocol. Nonetheless, these two remaining home games against the snow men will play a big part in playoff seeding.
St. Louis and Arizona are the less threatening of their final opponents, but both have seen some success against the Golden Knights. Both teams can strike quick and score in bunches, if it’s their night. The Golden Knights will be the favorite in those four games, but they’re not gimmies, with both clubs scratching and clawing their way to a playoff berth.
When the calendar turns over to May, it will bring seven games in 12 days, eight games in 13 taking the April 30 Coyote game into account. That workload will be evident, no matter how prepared a team is. Golden Knight management had the savvy and wherewithal to capitalize on a rare chance for rest.
If this team is able to lock down the one seed and make a third Conference Final in four seasons, remember these two days of rest. It seems trivial, but it’s the little things that separate the good from the great and the losers from the winners. Strategy and gamesmanship are at a premium, with their regular season concluding with a murder’s row of challengers.
It’s crunch time and the Golden Knights are a team to be wary of, regardless of their potential opening-round opponent.
Nine game win streak.
Two hot goalies.
A defense loaded with two-way talent.
A forward group hungry to prove their talent and depth.
Your Vegas Golden Knights have as good a chance as any team to win the Stanley Cup.
Wednesday, April 28 vs Colorado Avalanche, 6:30pm PDT
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Special Thanks: Shawn H