What team other than the San Jose Sharks could be better to close the season with? The Vegas Golden Knights head west for a rivalry game with serious implications for one of the teams involved.
Will a motivated Sharks club play spoiler to their known enemies or will Vegas continue their season of superiority over their bitter rival? Both clubs know how important tonight’s two points are and thus, the game has the potential to replicate the feel of the playoffs.
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That’s not to misconstrue things. The Golden Knights are the superior team. They have easily had the better 2020-21 season and their success over the Sharks specifically has been laughable. One team is playoff bound while the other can still smell the dust coming from the basement.
Over the 2020-21 season, the Golden Knights have compiled a 7-0-0 record against the Sharks. They’ve outscored them by a 27-14 margin. It all can’t even be placed on Martin Jones
this season. They’ve also beaten Devan Dubnyk
multiple times and have a win over his replacement (traded), the youngster Josef Korenar
This matchup can be looked at in one of two ways. It’s extremely plausible that the Sharks are embarrassed by their futility against Vegas and are motivated to kill the Knights’ chance to win the division and the top playoff seed. It can happen. It can. Right?
A more likely scenario shows an even-more motivated Golden Knights team dominating the Sharks and finishing a perfect season against their biggest rival. The visiting Knights have much more to lose...by losing.
Losing tonight would essentially lock them into the second seed in the Honda West Division. There’s no conceivable way the Colorado Avalanche get swept by the Los Angeles Kings (21-25-6) in their final two games. A loss to the Sharks would bring on a first round matchup with the Minnesota Wild.
Their struggles with the Wild are well documented. A mediocre 3-4-1 season series record speaks for itself, despite scoring five goals in three of the eight games (2-1). In their losses, either Cam Talbot had a huge game or the Minnesota offense went....Wild. Even Marcus Foligno
had a two-goal game against them!
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has been everything he was expected to be. The (NHL) rookie has been electric and has made his mark in their head-to-head matchups. He uses his speed, good hands, and vision well. He’s a force that the Golden Knights’ defense will need to extinguish.
That can all be avoided with a win tonight and some help from the Kings. If the Kings are able to take a game from the Avalanche, the Golden Knights get the one seed. Just last week they dropped two games to the Avs - both 3-2 losses - but did pull out a win, way back in January.
Wednesday night will be an action packed evening for Golden Knights and Avalanche stakeholders alike. Both pucks drop at 6pm PDT, which guarantees some frantic channel flipping this evening.
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This is the time of the year all sports fans endure pain, cheer loudly, and more-or-less live for. The final playoff push is upon us and tonight’s pair of games will not disappoint.
Although the Golden Knights are reeling with countless injuries, they have what it takes to close out the season and give themselves a chance at the coveted one seed. While important, the one seed isn’t a guaranteed path to Round Two. The St. Louis Blues are just two years removed from a Stanley Cup and will be a tough go as well.
Only time will tell who the Golden Knights will face in Round One. It didn’t go as planned, but the Honda West’s playoff quartet did shake out as expected. All four teams are legitimate contenders for the Stanley Cup.
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