The Vegas Golden Knights are less than 24 hours away from playing in their first outdoor game.
If the last four seasons are any indication, this will carry more merit than just being a historic moment.
At least one team who has participated in an outdoor game in the past four seasons has gone on to play in the Stanley Cup Final; two of them have won the whole thing.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won the 2017 Stadium Series against the Philadelphia Flyers at Heinz Field. They went on to win their second consecutive Stanley Cup against the Nashville Predators.
The Golden Knights actually fell victim to this trend in 2018 when they lost to the Washington Capitals in the final. Washington defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Then came the Boston Bruins in 2019, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 at Notre Dame Stadium, but eventually losing to the St. Louis Blues in seven games.
And last season, in perhaps the most visually aesthetic Winter Classic there’s been to this point, the Dallas Stars reached the Cup Final after playing the Predators in the Cotton Bowl. Dallas lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.
In hindsight, this doesn’t mean much, but with a team as high of Stanley Cup aspirations as the Golden Knights have, recent history says they have as good of a chance to make the final as anyone.
Ironically enough, so do their opponents on Saturday. The Avalanche are arguably the team to beat in the West Division behind the Golden Knights. Vegas and Colorado are 1-2 in points percentage.
Saturday will be the third game of a four-game set between the teams. The series finale shifts to Colorado on Monday.
So just know you’re watching a Cup Final team on Saturday.
Sunday if you want to be nice and include the Flyers and Bruins.