Vegas was my top pick going into this season to win the Stanley Cup. They were in the driver’s seat the full season up until the last couple games of the year to win the President’s Trophy as the top seed in all of hockey. Colorado ended up catching up with them to take first place so the Knights are seeded #2 in the West, matching up with the Minnesota Wild in the first round. Minnesota’s been shockingly good this season, lead by rookie of the year Kirill Kaprizov, who has 51 points and 27 goals on the year. Vegas is a wagon, lead by Mark Stone (61 points) and backstopped by the best goalie duo in the NHL with Marc Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner.
In the regular season, Minnesota was one of the only teams that had a winning record against the Golden Knights, going 5-3 against them. Only two games, a win for each team were decided by more than one goal. The rest were all one goal decisions and three of those eight games (two Vegas OT wins and one Minnesota shootout win). Statistically Vegas leads Minnesota in all statistically categories on both ends of the ice.
In their short existence since 2018, Vegas has made the playoffs every year including the Cup Finals in their inaugural season where they lost to the Washington Capitals as Ovi lifted the Cup for the first time.
What this series will come down to for me is if Vegas can shut down Kaprizov. If they can, the Knights stellar goaltending and their firepower offense should be able to overwhelm the Wild and win this series. I think this ends up being a great series to watch in what I expect to be a fun and hard fought series.
From earlier this season I have a two unit future on Vegas to win the Stanley Cup, which I definitely can see happening but its going to be two tough series that they need to get through to make it out of the West, with Minnesota right in front of them and Colorado likely meeting the winner of this series in the next round. I would bet Vegas to win the series but at -225, I don’t think there’s value there. I’d rather bet them game by game. I’m just riding out my Knights cup future and will likely bet Vegas and unders as this series unfolds. No action on Game 1.
Let’s Go Knights!!!!