Thoughts of a Knights-Jets Western final rematch is appealing

Updated March 21, 2019 - 10:36 pm

Man, and Mark Stone wasn’t even part of that Western Conference Final last season.

There are miles and miles to go — think a car drive from here to Nebraska and back — before a rematch could become reality, before the Golden Knights and Winnipeg might again meet for the right to play for a Stanley Cup.

But that doesn’t make the thought of it any less appealing.

Stone needed just 29 seconds Thursday night to introduce himself to what is a growing rivalry, taking a five-minute major for fighting Blake Wheeler of the Jets, who was also sent to the box.

Rocky Stone is good at so many things.

The fighting part … not so much.

But it was an electric beginning to a game the Knights would win 5-0 before an announced gathering of 18,430 at T-Mobile Arena, allowing the home team to avoid being swept in the regular season by Winnipeg.

Yeah. It was as much of a rout as the score suggests.

The Knights are 10-1 since trading for Stone, and over that time are a plus-25, and right now are forechecking the snot out of people, having moved smoothly into the role of the side no one would want to face if the playoffs began today.

I would think that might even include Winnipeg, which leads the Central Division by two points over Nashville.

So much can still happen.

So much would be different, anyway.

The Jets on the second game of a back-to-back Thursday started backup goalie Laurent Brossoit before pulling him in the second period because of an injury and down 3-0.

Malcolm Subban started and won his third straight for the Knights, facing just 20 shots while recording his first career shutout. Doughnuts for everyone.

But if this had been a playoff game, you would have seen a replay of Connor Hellebuyck against Marc-Andre Fleury (despite his day-to-day status) last May.

You remember that series, no?

If you watched just the first eight or so minutes of it, you would have thought the Jets were going to fly to a Western title, having gone up 3-0 in Game 1 faster than most of the white-clad faithful downed countless cold beverages at a pregame celebration outside Bell MTS Place.

“It just seemed like (the Knights) had some nerves coming out that first game and we were able to get up fast,” said Paul Stastny, who was with the Jets last season before signing here in July. “But the score ended up just 4-2. They started playing better and had some really good chances the second half of that game. We never thought it was going to be easy. We knew how good a team they were.

“Especially in the playoffs, one game can mean nothing. Things can change so fast. Mentally tough teams can turn the page as quick as possible. They did a really good job at that. Once they got going, they played like they had all season. Maybe because we had been playing so well at home, some guys took them a little too lightly in (Game 2).”

Top line awakens

The Knights would win that one 3-1 and take the next three games as well, claiming the series in five by being the better, more opportunistic team.

So many timely goals. So many momentum changing plays.

It’s good for the Knights that Stastny is now on their side because lost in Stone’s terrific play since arriving from Ottawa and the fact a first line has stirred to life like Robert De Niro in “Awakenings,” the second-line center is showing of late how valuable he is.

Stastny had two assists Thursday and now has 10 goals and 27 assists since returning from injury.

He also has 37 points in 44 games.

And his elite passing never gets enough credit.

His second-line teammate in Max Pacioretty was lost to injury in the first period Thursday and reportedly left the arena before the second was finished, meaning things in the lineup could look much different beginning Saturday against Detroit.

But there is depth to draw on for the Knights, who, what do you know, now trail second-place San Jose by just five points.

They also trucked Winnipeg on Thursday like Wheeler did Stone.

A preview to another conference final?

Miles and miles and miles to go.

But the thought of it sure is appealing.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights fans father outside T-Mobile Arena waiting for game 6 against the Sharks
Golden Knights gather outside the T-Mobile Arena ready to watch game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.
Knights aim to close out Sharks series at home - VIDEO
The Vegas Golden Knights players and head coach Gerard Gallant spoke about what needs to be done ahead of Game 6 at the T-Mobile Arena to clinch the series. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coach Gallant Speaks to media about game 5 against the Sharks - VIDEO
Golden Knight's coach Gerard Gallant speaks at City National Arena following thursday's game 5 against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Knights Fans Watch Game 5 At Henderson Pavilion - Video
Golden Knights fans gather at the Henderson Pavilion to watch game 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Fans Land in San Jose - VIDEO
Four Golden Knights fans who traveled from Las Vegas talk about the experiences they've had in San Jose with fans and the police ahead of Game 5 and give their predictions for the final score of the game.
Shea Theodore says he's trying to be a threat in all phases - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights Defenseman Shea Theodore says he's trying to elevate his game in all phases and his teammate Alex Tuch talks about Theodore's growth as a player.
Knights preparing to play a "desperate" Sharks team on the road
The Vegas Golden Knights could close out their first playoff series on the road against the San Jose Sharks when Game 5 takes place at the SAP Center. The team says they're going to have to play their best to defeat a "desperate" opponent.
Coach Gallant speaks after practice, as the Golden Knights prep for Game 5
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant speaks to media after the team's open skate.
Sharks Coach: I think our emotions got away from us a little bit
Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer and center Joe Pavelski say the team needs to hold their emotions in check going forward. Pavelski talks about the Ryan Reaves effect.
2019 NHL Awards set for Mandalay Bay Events Center on June 19
During the 2018 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, tribute was paid to first responders and survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting by a handful of Vegas Golden Knights. NHL Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer said that's why the league is moving the show to the site of the tragedy. The Mandalay Bay Events Center will host the ceremony on June 19th.
Ryan Reaves says Joe Thornton's Hit was "Gutless" - Video
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves says Sharks' forward Joe Thornton's hit on Tomas Nosek was "gutless." Thornton has been suspended for one game (game four on Tues., April 16) as a result of the hit.
Ryan Reaves Finally Throws Down with San Jose's Evander Kane - Video
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves says the fight between him and Sharks' forward Evander Kane was nine years in the making. Spectators finally saw the two battle it out in game three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Ryan Reaves Finally Throws Down with San Jose's Evander Kane - Video
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves says the fight between him and Sharks' forward Evander Kane was nine years in the making. Spectators finally saw the two battle it out in game three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Golden Knights rookie team coach Rocky Thompson on Rookie Faceoff
Golden Knights rookie team coach Rocky Thompson discusses team's 7-6 win over Colorado in the Vegas Rookie Faceoff
Fleury's newborn son attends Game 3 - VIDEO
Marc-Andre Fleury's newborn son and his wife Veronique were in attendance at the T-Mobile Arena during game 3. Fleury talks about having his family there to support him.
Sharks and Knights players get physical during game 3 - VIDEO
Several fights broke out during game 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Golden Knights and Sharks. Capping off the skirmishes was an intense showdown between Ryan Reaves and Evander Kane.
Golden Knights Fans Gather At T-mobile To Watch Game 3 Of The Playoffs - Video
Golden Knights fans gather outside of the T-Mobile arena to watch game three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Knights GM says it was important for the team to sign Nikita Gusev
Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee says it was important for the team to sign Russian standout Nikita Gusev. The Knights announced they had signed the forward to a one-year, entry level contract on Sunday. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marc-André Fleury on flamingo
Marc-André Fleury on flamingo
Golden Knights Watch Party For Game 2 Of Sharks Series - Video
Golden Knights fans gather at Top Golf to watch the second game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.
Gallant addresses the media after practice following a 5-2 loss
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant addresses the media after practice following a 5-2 loss to San Jose in Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on lineup
Golden Knights Fans Gather Downtown For First Round of Playoffs - Video
Golden Knights fans gather downtown to watch the first game of the playoff series against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Edge Mailbag - April 10, 2019 - VIDEO
Golden Knights reporters Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer your burning questions.
Gallant on Golden Knights lineup against Sharks
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on lineup against the San Jose Sharks for Game 1 of the first round in the Stanley Cup playoffs. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Prepare for Playoffs - Video
Golden Knights players Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault feel that the team is both mentally and physically prepared to take on the Sharks in round one of the NHL Playoffs.
Golden Knights sign defenseman Jimmy Schuldt to a one-year contract
The Golden Knights have signed free agent defenseman Jimmy Schuldt to a one-year, entry level contract. Schuldt comes to the Golden Knights after graduating from St. Cloud State University, where he lead the Huskies to a regular-season conference title and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Golden Knights letting playoff mentality set in - VIDEO
As the Vegas Golden Knights finish out their season, the team and head coach Gerard Gallant talk about where their mindset is, how they are preparing for the playoffs and their win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Golden Knights Lose to Wild, Clinch Playoff Berth - VIDEO
Despite losing 3-2 to the Minnesota Wild, the Vegas Golden Knights are locked in to a playoff spot. Head coach Gerard Gallant and players discuss their performance against the Wild and what it means to go back to the playoffs.
Gallant on losing to the Avalanche
Gerard Gallant talks about the loss to Colorado. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on Colorado loss
Gerard Gallant talks about the loss to Colorado. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge Mailbag- March 27, 2019 - VIDEO
Golden Knights reporters Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer your burning questions.
Gerard Gallant on Paul Stastny
Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about Paul Stastny's role on the team. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on St. Louis goal
Gerard Gallant talks about St. Louis's third goal on March 25, 2019. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gerard Gallant on St. Louis Blues
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about the team's loss to St. Louis on March 25, 2019. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Host First Charity Night At T-Mobile Arena - VIDEO
The Vegas Golden Knights host their first annual charity night during the Red Wings game at T-Mobile arena. Fans were able to buy from two choices of backpacks full of VGK memorabilia. 1,500 Golden Knights Charity backpacks were filled and fans lined up to buy the backpacks. The charity gives it proceeds to various causes around Las Vegas in order to give back to the community.
Golden Knights shutout Winnipeg Jets, continue hot streak - VIDEO
The Vegas Golden Knights continue their hot streak as they shutout the Winnipeg Jets, 5-0. In their last 10 games, the Golden Knights have only lost once and have won four straight games.
Golden Edge Mailbag- March 20, 2019 - VIDEO
Golden Knights reporters Ben Gotz and Adam Hill answer your burning questions.
The Cast of FS1's "Lock It In" talk Raiders and Golden Knights futures
With Las Vegas growing as a pro sports town, the cast of Fox Sports 1's "Lock It In" give their betting predictions on if the Vegas Golden Knights can make another run at the Stanley Cup and if the Raiders will make a Super Bowl in 2020.
Vegas Golden Knights coach and players proud of their recent play
After a 6-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers, the Vegas Golden Knights say their proud of the way they're playing as they prepare to face the San Jose Sharks on the road.
William Karlsson talks before Ducks game
The Golden Knights center talked about Paul Stastny’s line, Reilly Smith’s between-the-legs goal and more.
Mark Stone Locker Room - Full Video
Mark Stone, who was traded Monday to the Vegas Golden Knights from Ottawa, speaks to the press about the move. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Golden Knights coach talks Mark Stone trade
The Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant discusses the team’s newest player, forward Mark Stone, acquired from the Ottawa Senators. (Ben Gotz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rain doesn't deter hockey fans
Golden Knights and Bruins fans waited in long lines in the rain to get in to the T-Mobile Arena for the hockey game on Wednesday night.
Rain doesn't deter hockey fans at the T-Mobile Arena
A solid amount of Golden Knights and Bruins fans showed up at the T-Mobile for the hockey game despite inclement weather descending upon Las Vegas.
Mike Kelly talks about Golden Knights injuries
The Golden Knights assistant coach discussed injuries and the “dog days” of the season, on Feb. 19
Golden Knights ready to celebrate Valentine's Day
Even though they have a game on Feb. 14, Marc-Andre Fleury and Ryan Reaves are ready to spoil the ones they love this Valentine's Day.
Gallant talks about losing streak
Gerard Gallant talks about breaking a four-game losing streak. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on finishing road trip
Gerard Gallant talks about finishing the road trip on a high note. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gerard Gallant talks about the win over Detroit
Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about the 4-3 win over Detroit on Feb. 7, 2019. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on Karlsson
Knights coach Gerard Gallant talks about William Karlsson. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on breaking the losing streak
Gerard Gallant talks about breaking a four-game losing streak agains one the NHL's best teams. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on Valentin Zykov's goal
Gerard Gallant talks about Valentin Zykov's goal against Tampa Bay on Feb. 5, 2019. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-journal)
Gallant on penalty killing
Gerard Gallant talks about the Golden Knights' penalty killing against Tampa Bay on Feb. 5, 2019. (Davis Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gerard Gallant on facing Tampa Bay
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant on facing the Tampa Bay Lightning. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gerard Gallant on Valentin Zykov
Golden Knight coach Gerard Gallant talks about Valentin Zykov. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on next game after loss to Panthers
Coach Gerard Gallant talks to reporters after Knights loss to Panthers. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on big plays hurting Knights in loss to Panthers
Coach Gerard Gallant talks to reporters after Knights loss to Panthers. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on breakaway goals in loss to Panthers
Coach Gerard Gallant speaks to media after Knights loss to Panthers. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on loss to Panthers
Coach Gerard Gallent speaks about Knights loss to Panthers. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing