Vegas Golden Knights Off to Historic Start

Cynicism is tempting in the world of sports (just check any comment section or half-baked “think piece”), but the Vegas Golden Knights are doing really well right now.

Sure, you could offer the unsurprising and uncontroversial retort that this early success won’t last.

The Golden Knights blew out the Colorado Avalanche by a final score of 7-0 on Friday. And yeah, it does seem relatively easy to knock off the 5-5-0 Avalanche.

But Vegas has been stacking up the wins, going 8-1-0 to start the season and generating their fifth win in a row. Seven different Golden Knights scored against Colorado and goalie Oscar Dansk made 32 saves in what was the franchise’s first shutout, so there is every reason to celebrate.

Plus, the club is off to the best start in NHL expansion team history.

That has to be worth something, even in these cynical times.

What makes this particularly interesting is that Vegas probably shouldn’t be in this position. Consider that they’re contending with injuries to two goalies, with Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcom Subban on the shelf. Dansk has successfully filled the gap, winning three straight games since taking over.

The Golden Knights are relying on a decidedly non-NHL goaltending apparatus and it’s working, which has most sports pundits going nuts with cynical predictions. The wheels will come off the ride, etc.

But will they?

Surely Vegas can’t sustain this high level of play. Surely they can’t continue to blow out the opposition and spread out the points. Surely they can’t.

The knock on the Golden Knights is that they allow too many shots against. And that’s true. Vegas has allowed more shots against per hour of even strength play than almost any other hockey club right now, but somehow they’ve been winning games and making their chances count.

Conversely, they’ve been lean when it comes to taking penalties and haven’t had to contend with many difficulties on the penalty kill. That level of responsibility has enabled them to find positions to win, which has been working.

Vegas’ five-game winning streak matches the one set by the 1926-1927 New York Rangers and the 1979-1980 Edmonton Oilers, for those scoring at home. That puts them in the running for the best debut season ever, which is no small feat. And with the New Jersey Devils off to their best start in 24 years, it’s safe to say that the 2017-2018 is full of surprises.

Given that, why can’t the Vegas Golden Knights keep winning? What’s stopping them from turning the hockey world on its ear? Sports writers are still wondering who this team is, but they’re telling their story on the ice at the T-Mobile Arena. And right now, it’s a pretty sweet tale.

Published by Dr. Pucksworth

Doctor of Puckanomics.

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