Knights, Kings looks like a five-game series at best for LA
April 17, 2018 3:02 AM
by Alan Berg
With an outstanding performance on the road, the Vegas Golden Knights are one win away from moving on to the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Knights have been outstanding in the series against the Los Angeles Kings. Starting off with a 1-0 nail biter in Game 1, an Erik Haula 2-1 double overtime winner in Game 2, and now a 3-2 win on the road in a game Vegas was consistently out muscled but took over in the third period for a 3-0 series lead.
Vegas will look for the sweep Tuesday night at the Staples Center in LA.
The Kings have been as advertised: physical and demanding. But by the end of the night they haven’t been able to win where it mattered on the scoreboard. Vegas finishing off LA in four would be a dream scenario, but the Kings should play their best hockey of the season, not wanting to get swept at home.
However, I don’t buy it. A Game 2 Double OT loss plus a meltdown third period in Game 3 where the Kings gave up three straight goals should leave them spent. Emotionally I think the Kings are done and I expect the Knights to finish off the LA in a sweep. KNIGHTS
Assuming the Knights fall, Game 5 heads back to Vegas and if the Kings manage to get one game, I think Vegas provides the final strike to finish this off and move on to the next round. KNIGHTS (if necessary).
In the other Pacific first round series, Sharks lead Ducks 2-0. I am not convinced the series is over. On paper the Sharks seem to be a better matchup with the Knights, but at this point in the Stanley Cup Playoffs everyone is good and Anaheim or San Jose will present a challenge. Regardless, I can see the Ducks bouncing back to make this a series.
I do think the Knights, provided they go on and win the series with LA, will take down the Ducks or Sharks in 6.
Before we get to the next round, the Knights have to finish the job against LA. Hockey is not a sport you want to let up in any games because in this sport teams have come back to win the series from 0-3 down.
Provided Vegas keeps putting up the energy level in previous games, this shouldn’t get past Game 5. As mentioned in previous articles, Vegas not getting dragged into a long series with a very physical team in Round 1 would be a huge victory toward the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.