Homestand gives Golden Knights chance to eye postseason berth

Updated February 10, 2018 - 8:48 pm

Gerard Gallant’s mood changes faster than a left-turn signal on Silverado Ranch Boulevard whenever the topic of the postseason is broached.

Example:

“I don’t want to talk about the playoffs,” the Golden Knights coach said before the All-Star break.

With the exception of an occasional slip of the tongue, Gallant and the players have avoided discussing the postseason — at least in public.

But as the Knights tighten their grip on the top spot in the Pacific Division with 28 games remaining in the regular season, they might not be able to dodge the subject much longer.

The Knights begin a seven-game homestand at 5 p.m. Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers, and when it ends Feb. 23, it could be time to start calculating a magic number for the expansion team to clinch a playoff berth.

“I don’t really want to talk about (the playoffs) for the sole fact that we’re having so much fun in this room with our guys every day,” defenseman Nate Schmidt told NHL.com last month. “If you start talking about it, you’re hitting the fast-forward button on the year, and I don’t really want to do that because of how cool our room has been. You don’t get these times back. It goes too fast.”

The Knights (36-14-4, 76 points) have an 11-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division entering Saturday’s action.

As it currently stands, the Knights can’t mathematically lock up a playoff berth until late next month.

The Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames are tied for fourth in the Pacific Division with 64 points — the same point total as third-place San Jose, which has played fewer games.

The Ducks, with 26 games remaining, have a maximum point total of 116; the Flames (27 games left) can reach 118 points. Based on that formula, the earliest the Knights can surpass 118 points and clinch is March 26.

Of course, that date and point total will change every time the Knights win and the teams below them fail to accumulate points.

“Obviously they are what their record says they are. They’re one of the top teams in the league right now,” Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “What I see when I watch their team, I think the strength of their team is in their balance. There’s not a significant difference between their first line and their fourth line.

“They just have a lot of good players, and their coaching staff has done a great job of getting them to buy in to a style of play. And they’re hard to play against. They’re quick, and they play a hard game out there.”

Since the NHL went to its current postseason format beginning with the 2013-14 season, the final wild-card team in the Western Conference has ranged from a low of 87 points (Minnesota) in 2016 to a high of 97 points (Calgary) in 2015. Last year, Nashville (94 points) was the second wild card in the Western Conference playoffs.

If the playoffs started today, the Knights would take on Minnesota (66 points), the second wild card, in the opening round. The Wild are 2-0 against the Knights.

“I think with Vegas they’re a good team. They’ve shown that,” Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said. “There’s a lot of talent out there, they’re a well-coached team and they seem to have found something right now.”

If the Knights take all 14 available points on the homestand — not out of the question since they’re 19-3-2 at T-Mobile Arena — they would be at 90 points with 21 games remaining.

Four teams have finished with 95 or more points and missed the postseason since the NHL implemented the three-point game starting with the 2005-06 season: The 2014-15 Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings, the 2010-11 Dallas Stars and the 2006-07 Colorado Avalanche.

“They’ve got an unwavering belief they’re going to find a way to get a puck in, and they’re getting a lot of breaks,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said of the Knights. “And they’re playing good. They’re a good hockey team. There’s no question about that.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge : NHL Draft Round 1
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the first round of the NHL Draft picks and the rumors surrounding the Knights recruiting Ilya Kovalchuk.
Golden Knights 2018 NHL Draft Preview
Golden Edge video host Bryan Salmond provides a preview heading into the 2018 NHL Draft and Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee discusses how the team has prepared for it.
Golden Knights Release Schedule For 2018-19 NHL Season
Golden Knights release schedule for 2018-19 NHL season. The Golden Knights will play five of their first six games on the road. The Knights are at Washington on Oct. 10 in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final and face Pittsburgh the following night. The NHL previously announced the Knights open the season at home Oct. 4 against Philadelphia.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 21
Golden Edge: Knights Take Home Four Awards
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the NHL awards where the Golden Knights won in four of the categories.
George McPhee On Winning General Manager Of The Year
Golden Knights General Manager George Mcphee talks about winning General Manager of the Year and the Golden Knights.
Deryk Engelland On Winning Mark Messier Award
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland talks about winning the Mark Messier award how much impact a team can have on a community.
Gerard Gallant On Winning Jack Adams Award
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks about winning the Jack Adams award at the NHL Awards.
William Karlsson On Winning The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
William Karlsson goes over the Golden Knights season and him winning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 19
Golden Knights release 2018 preseason schedule
The Golden Knights will be back on the ice at T-Mobile Arena Sept. 16. The team’s 2018 NHL preseason schedule was announced Monday. Scheduled is a matchup with the L.A. Kings — Sept. 20 at Staples Center and Sept. 28 at T-Mobile. Two games against the Colorado Avalanche — Sept. 18 in Denver and Sept. 24 at T-Mobile. Two games against the San Jose Sharks — Sept. 22 at San Jose and Sept. 30 in Las Vegas. The team also announced it will hold its training camp at City National Arena beginning Sept. 13.
Golden Edge Look Ahead: What The Knights Next Season Will Look Like
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journals sports columnist Ed Graney and Adam Hill go over what to expect from the Golden Knights next season.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 14
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Stick Salute To Fans
The Vegas Golden Knights host a fan fest on Fremont Street to celebrate the teams achievements throughout the 2017-2018 season. Fans were treated to live entertainment, free Golden Knights merchandise and the players came out to see fans.
David Perron talks about becoming a free agent
Vegas Golden Knights winger David Perron talked to the news media a day after their season ended in the Stanley Cup Final. Perron said he wants to stay in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights' season ends, but accomplishments stand
Take a video tour through the Golden Knights' accomplishments in their inaugural season.
Golden Edge: Knights Reflect On Stanley Cup Loss
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the Knights emptying their locker room and how the team feels about their season ending with a Stanley Cup loss.
Marc-Andre Fleury On Stanley Cup Loss
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks about the team losing in the Stanley Cup Final.
Golden Knights React To Stanley Cup Loss
The Golden Knights reflect on their Stanley Cup loss against the Washington Capitals in game five.
George McPhee Talks About The Future For The Golden Knights
Golden Knights general manager George McPhee goes over what the future holds for the team and the reality of certain players not being part of the team next season.
Gerard Gallant On Stanley Cup Loss And The Future
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over the Knights Stanley Cup Final loss against the Washington Capitals and what the future holds for the team.
Golden Knights Empty Locker Room
The Golden Knights empty their locker room after losing the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals.
Review-Journal's Golden Knights covers
Golden Edge: Magical season comes to an end
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney and Adam Hill talk about the end of the Golden Knights season, who fell 4-3 to the Capitals, losing the series in Game 5.
Golden Knights On Stanley Cup Final Loss
The Golden Knights react to their loss against the Washington Capitals in game five of the Stanley Cup Final.
Gerard Gallant On Losing The Stanley Cup Final
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over the Golden Knights losing the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals.
Golden Knights fans give advice to their team
Golden Knights fans give advice to the team as they head into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final down 3-1 against the Washington Capitals. (Rochelle Richards/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights remain confident heading into Game 5
Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, Nate Schmidt and Erik Haula talk about their mentality heading into Game 5 down 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final.
Golden Knights struggling with Capitals blocking shots
Gerard Gallant and Ryan Reaves discuss how the Knights are trying to get past the Capitals blocking a lot of their shots.
Gerard Gallant focused on Game 5 in T-Mobile Arena
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after practice ahead of Game 5.
Marc-Andre Fleury on where the Knights must improve
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks about what he expects his team to improve on when the Knights return to Vegas for Game 5 after going down 3-1 in the series.
Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final
Vegas Golden Knights fans party at Toshiba Plaza outside T-Mobile Arena before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals on May 30, 2018 in Las Vegas.
Crowd goes crazy moments before puck drop
The crowd at T-Mobile Arena goes crazy moments before the puck drops in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves becomes Golden Knights' latest unlikely hero
Ryan Reaves has become the Golden Knights latest unlikely hero. Reaves scored the series-clinching goal in the Western Conference Finals. It was his first goal with the Golden Knights. It came after Reaves sat for Vegas' first nine playoff games. Now he's become a integral part of the team's forecheck. He gets his chance and he goes in there and he played great hockey. It’s not surprising.
Golden Knights’ Fleury tickles Wheeler’s ear during Game 3 scrum
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury tickled Jets' Blake Wheeler during a scrum in Game 3. The scrum occured behind Vegas’ net with 2:34 left in the second period of the Golden Knights’ 4-2 victory over Winnipeg on Wednesday night Wheeler, whose helmet was off and had his back to the goalie, somehow seemed unfazed. The Golden Knights lead the Western Conference final series 2-1, and host Game 4 on Friday night.
Voices of Golden Knights players welcome visitors at McCarran airport
Four Golden Knights players will start delivering recorded messages this week as part of the “Voices of Vegas” program at McCarran International Airport.
Station Casinos offers free wagers on Golden Knights to win Cup
Station Casinos will offer free bets on the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup. The locals casino company announced a promotion offering free wagers ranging from $5 to $250 on the team who wins hockey’s most coveted trophy. Thousands of invited holders of Station’s Boarding Pass loyalty card will receive an offer by mail to swipe their cards Monday at kiosks at seven properties. A winning ticket could cash for up to $1,000. The Golden Knights are now the 4-1 co-favorites with the Nashville Predators to claim the NHL championship.
Vanderburg Elementary cheers on the Golden Knights with mascot Chance, Golden Aces cheerleaders
Students at Vanderburg Elementary wrote an original song for a #KnightUp contest from the Vegas Golden Knights. They won the contest and hosted Knights mascot Chance and the Golden Aces cheerleaders for a pep rally. Over 300 students came together to cheer on the Knights as they head into their fourth playoff game.
Golden Knights use fitness to grab 2-0 series lead
A day after beating the Kings 2-0 in double overtime, Golden Knights players credited their conditioning. "Your body is tired, but your mind is still racing," said forward Reilly Smith. "The crowd was unbelievable." A season-high gathering of 18,588 at T-Mobile Arena helped inspire the Knights to victory. "This is why we put in so much extra work all summer long," said defenseman Jon Merrill. "For a game like that." The series continues with Game 3 at Staples Center on Sunday night.
Knights success far exceeds LVCVA's tourism goals
Several months ago, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority set out to market the city as the sports capital of the world. With the addition of the Golden Knights and the Raiders, LVCVA saw the perfect opportunity to do so. The Knights' success and current Stanley Cup playoff run has resulted in a marketing marriage with Las Vegas that has been far more successful than anyone could have imagined. This season, the Knights have managed to unite the community and made hockey fans around the country take notice. “The Knights, in my mind, really put the exclamation point that we’re the sports capital of the world, not only what they’ve done on the ice in this historic season but how they brought the community together." Lisa Motley, director of sports marketing and special events for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Professional sports have been a staple for Las Vegas for decades with championship boxing matches, PGA golf tour events and the National Finals Rodeo. But big-league teams kept their distance from Nevada, due to lingering fears of sports betting somehow influencing games. "Las Vegas stands for something much more extensive and expansive now than what it once did" David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California's Marshall Sports Business Institute
Smith Glad To Be Back In Lineup
The Golden Knights forward missed 15 games with an upper-body injury, (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hunt Said Buses Are Where Hockey Team Unity Gets Fostered
The Golden Knights defenseman was fortunate to have avoided any accidents while riding the bus in his hockey career. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Saskatchewan Native Brayden McNabb On The Humboldt Bus Tragedy
The Golden Knights defenseman knows the area well where the junior hockey team’s bus collided with a truck Friday and left 14 people dead. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights raise banner honoring Oct. 1 shooting victims
Golden Knights raise banner honoring Oct. 1 shooting victims. On a night when the Golden Knights were looking to lock up the Pacific Division title and secure a championship banner, the team unveiled a banner of its own Saturday. The banner honors the 58 victims of the Oct. 1 Strip shooting. Knights majority owner and chairman Bill Foley and general manager George McPhee also were on the ice, along with the family of shooting victim Neysa Tonks.
Golden Knights playoff tickets go on sale Monday
The Golden Knights clinched a playoff spot Monday night, and now officials are revealing how fans can get tickets. The hottest tickets in town are going on sale Monday morning on the Golden Knights website. There will be less than 1,000 tickets made available for public sale at 10 a.m. Monday. Tickets will only be sold on a single-game basis. Are you planning to go to any Golden Knights playoff games?
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like