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Golden Knights Analysis

Golden Knights Clinching Scenario: Could Happen Friday



Vegas Golden Knights game, William Karlsson celebrates win over Minnesota Wild

The defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights can earn their spot in this season’s NHL postseason if they take care of business Friday at home against the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues cooperate with a loss.

The Blues’ home game against the Carolina Hurricanes starts two hours earlier than the Vegas contest. That means coach Bruce Cassidy and his players should know that result by the intermission of the first and second periods of their game.

If the Blues lose, then they would stay at 89 points with two games remaining. Their best finish then would be 93 points. If the Golden Knights beat the Wild, they would have 94 points, clinching the second wildcard position. Vegas has three games left after the game against Minnesota.

Should the Blues lose and the Golden Knights only earn one point against Minnesota, then Vegas will not clinch Friday. The Blues could still get to 93 points and could technically still win on the tiebreakers (regulation wins).

Even if the Blues win Friday, they are likely only delaying the inevitable. says the Golden Knights have a 99.7% chance of clinching. They have a longer shot opportunity to catch the Nashville Predators for the top wildcard spot, although they didn’t play well enough on an 0-3 road trip to suggest that will happen.

Tough First Round Matchup

The Golden Knights were outscored 16-8 in falling to Arizona, Vancouver and Edmonton. Goalie Adin Hill, last year’s Stanley Cup playoff hero, give up five goals to the Oilers. Jonathan Marchessault recently called out the team for not being as driven as they have been in the past, especially last season when they won it all. With the trade deadline additions of Tomas Hertl and Noah Hanifin, this Vegas team should be primed for another postseason run. Hertl is healthy enough to play and Hanifin is plus-7. The Golden Knights are 9-5-1 since the deadline.

The Predators have a three-point lead over Vegas, but the Golden Knights have a game in hand.  The Predators are in Chicago Friday night. Their last two games are against Columbus and Pittsburgh. After facing Minnesota Friday, the Golden Knights have games scheduled against Colorado (Sunday),  Chicago (Tuesday) and Anaheim (Thursday).

If the standings don’t change, Vegas would play the No. 1-seeded Dallas Stars in the opening round of the playoffs. The Stars have won nine of their last 10 games to become the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed. They have a four-point lead over the Vancouver Canucks. Both teams have three games remaining.

The Golden Knights are 3-0 against the Stars this season, but they have not played each other since Dec. 9.  The Stars are not the same team they were back then. They are 15-3 since Feb. 27.