19 Apr Vegas Brings out the Brooms
Welp… they did it. The Vegas Golden knights (not Las Vegas, they’re too cool to be called Las Vegas) swept the Los Angeles Kings to move onto the second round of the NHL Playoffs. Not only that, but this team won the first playoff series they’ve ever been in. Not only that, but they won their first ever playoff series in their first ever season in the NHL. Not only that, but they became the first NHL team to sweep their first ever playoff series.
What makes this such a great story is: No one thought this team was going anywhere. Seriously. As he said on the post-game broadcast, Jeremy Roenick said that he thought they would be lucky to win 20 games. The fact that this team is even in the playoffs much less winning the series is astounding. These players had never even played together as a team before this season started! This rag-tag team of players, none of whom were considered worthy enough to be protected by their former teams, have come together and won their first playoff series as a team. Team chemistry is very important. It’s often not the team that is the best going into the playoffs that wins the Cup, but it’s the team that gets hot at the right time that wins it. A lot of that often has to do with team chemistry. The 07 Giants weren’t the best team in the NFL when they beat the previously undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, they just gelled together at the right time and played together as a team the rest of the w, and this team is doing just that. Fleury had a 0.977 save percentage this series. He garnered his 66th career playoff win in game 4 with 31 saves to go with it. He turned aside 127 of 130 shots this series and had 2 shutouts. This guy was considered done by Pittsburgh when they left him unprotected at the end of last season and he has stood on his head all series. Speaking of Pittsburgh, the Flyers allowed more goals in 3 of their 4 games against the Pens than Fleury allowed all series.
But he’s not the only one who stepped up. Vegas only had 7 goals all series, BUT all 7 goals were scored by 7 different skaters. I’m sure if I was a real journalist and had the resources and time to do so I could figure it out for sure, but if you were to look at the majority of the playoff teams that have ever won a series in the NHL playoffs, you would find that this is uncommon. I’m sure most teams probably consisted of a few hot players that scored more than others and a few other players who go cold in the playoffs (Sup, Rick Nash?). The fact that there are so many players scoring on Vegas is absolutely insane. If they keep up this consistency and Fleury keeps standing on his head, this team will be very hard to beat going forward.
This team’s story is just beginning, but this season could already be turned into a Hollywood movie. A team of nobody’s ban together and sweep a team they weren’t supposed to beat and do so on the stick of a dude who got dropped by the team they swept. That’s right, Brayden McNabb, who was left unprotected by the Kings during the expansion draft at the end of last season, got sweet revenge on his former team by scoring the game winning goal and sending them to an early tee time. What’s more, is that Fleury could very easily end up facing his former team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Penguins are cup favorites just about every year and this year is no different. They are making a joke out of the Flyers this series and it doesn’t look like they will be stopped anytime soon. If Vegas can get by San Jose next round, and then win the conference finals, Fleury could get sweet revenge on his old team as well. It’s still only the second round, but you’d have to be dead inside, (a kings fan, or a fan of one of the remaining teams in the playoffs) to not want the Knights to win the cup in their first season at least a little bit. The only question that would still remain is: who directs the movie?