Thu, Apr 22, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Vegas Golden Knights have quickly emerged as an NHL powerhouse after entering the league as an expansion team just a few years ago.
The Golden Knights are the first team in the NHL to secure a playoff spot this season after taking down the San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Wednesday night. It was the eighth win in a row for Vegas.
Vegas leads the league in wins and points, with 33 and 68, respectively. The team has now made the playoffs in each of its four seasons in the league. They are just the fourth franchise in league history to do so.
In their very first season in the league, Vegas fell to the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2018.
"It's an accomplishment in this league; 31 teams to make the playoffs," said Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer. "What this franchise has done so far is unheard of. I don't know if you'll ever see that again out of an expansion team. I wouldn't trade our group for any other group out there."
With the 5-2 win over the Sharks Wednesday, the Golden Knights are now 15-1-3 all-time against San Jose. That includes a perfect 7-0-0 mark this season.
"We've been doing good against [San Jose]," Jonathan Marchessault said. He scored twice in the victory over the Sharks. "We seem to be playing the right way. It's good to have success against a divisional team like that."
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves in the win and is now 7-0-1 in his last eight games.
"They're scoring every night, and they're looking dangerous doing it," DeBoer said of his team's offense. "That for me is what we're looking for, even on nights when the pucks don't go in, we're creating momentum, we're getting chances, we're putting pressure on the other team."
Vegas picked up goals from Mark Stone, Alex Tuch, and Mattias Janmark in the 5-2 win over the Sharks, who are now in the midst of an 0-6-1 slump.
"The hottest team in the league, it's not just us," San Jose coach Bob Boughner said. "We're a team that doesn't match up on paper to them. So a lot of things have to go right for us. They find ways to win. Our power play has to get going, it's been dry for a while. That's the difference in these tight games. You have to have good special teams when you go against these guys."
The goal by Janmark was with the net empty for the Sharks and just 56 seconds left in the game. It was his first goal as a member of the Golden Knights after Vegas acquired him from the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline.
"I liked our resiliency, I liked our calmness tonight," DeBoer said. "I thought after the first period, we could've been up three. We stuck with it. We took some penalties we found to kill off, get some big saves at the right time. There wasn't any panic there."