It's Valentine's Day, one of the worst holidays, in my opinion, but it's sparked a generic column idea for us at VHN. The Vegas Golden Knights are in a much better spot than they were a week or two ago, as they have won every game since returning from the All-Star Break.
Things are far from perfect, but if you are a Vegas Golden Knights fan, here are five things to love about the team right now
1) The Playoff Push Is On
While watching the NHL standings can be anxiety-inducing with the threat of what happened to this team last year hovering over the team, the push to the playoffs is still entertaining. The Golden Knights have 28 games remaining on their 2022-23 regular season schedule. 13 are at home and 15 away.
They currently sit first in the Pacific Division standings and are in a much better position to make the playoffs than they were last season. However, the Pacific Division, and overall Western Conference, is wide open with teams like the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames pressuring the VGK, among others.
This season's push to the playoffs should provide us with some highly entertaining hockey yet again.
2) Stars Starting to Score
Ever since the return from break, the star players on the Golden Knights have started to step up in the absence of Mark Stone. Reilly Smith recently broke a 13-game-goal drought, the longest of his VGK career. Chandler Stephenson has four points in his last five games, and Jack Eichel four in his last two.
Scoring as an overall metric has improved for the Golden Knights since the break, with the team outscoring opponents 17-4 in their last three games.
If the Golden Knights are going to make the playoffs, this will have to continue. Especially with Stone out of the lineup.
3) Health on D
While Stone and goaltender Logan Thompson are injured, the Golden Knights have their top-six defensemen all healthy, with Shea Theodore and Zach Whitecloud being the latest to rejoin the team. As a result, the team has only allowed four goals in their three games back from the All-Star Break.
As a six-man unit, the Golden Knights now have one of the best defensive units in the NHL with Whitecloud, Theodore, Alex Pietrangelo, Alec Martinez, Nicolas Hague, and Brayden McNabb. Ben Hutton, Kaedan Korczak, and currently injured defenseman Daniil Miromanov make for good spares.
4) Trade Deadline Talk
The 2023 NHL Trade Deadline is only 17 days, away, which means that always-fun Golden Knights trade speculation is rampant. With Ston potentially going on LTIR, the Golden Knights could have enough cap space to acquire guys like Timo Meier, Patrick Kane, or Ryan O'Reilly.
For all of VHN's trade deadline content, check out our trade roundup page.
5) Get In And Go
Being optimistic, the third portion of the NHL regular season is all about making the Stanley Cup Playoffs. If the Golden Knights make it, who knows what could happen? Does anyone remember 2018? The focus for the team should be on making it in and going from there.