The Golden Knights are into the home stretch of the NHL regular season with six games remaining. Vegas hosts Arizona on Wednesday, St. Louis this Friday and San Jose on Saturday. VGK closes the year with a Western Canada road trip at Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.
So how do things look? At press time the Knights will have already played Colorado here at T-Mobile Arena. A win would clinch the playoffs for the Knights, but the Avalanche will not make it easy with the Blues and Kings both one point back.
Currently these are the matchups out in the Western Conference:
Nashville (107 points) has the top seed in the West and would face Wild Card St. Louis (89 points). Vegas, the projected Pacific Division winner, would face the other Wild Card team, currently Colorado (90 points).
The teams finishing second and third in each division face off in the first round. For the Central, Winnipeg (102 points) plays Minnesota (93 points), with the winner of that series facing the winner of Nashville vs. St. Louis. In the Pacific, San Jose (95 points) battles Anaheim (91) with the winner likely facing either Vegas or Colorado as things stand.
With only a couple points separating many teams this can very easily be blown up, considering Nashville and Winnipeg are technically the only teams in the West to have clinched a playoff berth. Dallas would be a recent example of how crucial a few games can be, losing eight straight and falling out of the playoff picture almost completely.
Arizona at Vegas
The Knights are 4-0 against Vegas even though the Coyotes have managed to take them to overtime twice. These games are so important for the Knights to get ready for the postseason. They should be feasting on teams like this with so much at stake.
Can’t see Arizona finding only it’s 11th road win of the season in this building but wouldn’t it be a surprise to see them keep it close. Let’s go after the total. UNDER
St. Louis at Vegas
Nothing worse than playing teams that must win, but it’s a great test for the Golden Knights. Vegas split the two games with the Blues winning at home and losing on the road. But this is going to feel like a playoff hockey game.
St. Louis had two days off after playing at home against San Jose. I think they grind it out, needing the win more than the Knights do, plus a possible look ahead with the Sharks headed to Sin City the following night. BLUES
San Jose at Vegas
This could be the game that decides the Pacific Division title. If Vegas didn’t fare well in the previous three games, look for them to come out firing on all cylinders to get this victory. Otherwise they likely already have the Pacific Division crown.
That will matter as I think the Knights will maybe change things up here if they don’t want to show any extra important minutes to a team they might face in the second round. KNIGHTS (if division isn’t locked up); SHARKS (if it is).