Las Vegas Looking Golden
By Rustyn Burnside, ESPN 977
Vegas set expectations high by appearing in the Stanley cup Finals their expansion season. Ever since, they have rightfully been eyed during preseason predictions as a formidable foe bound to make at the very least, a postseason run. However, preseason expectations this season were relatively muddied compared to years past when discussing the local hockey team. The Golden Knights missed the playoffs for the first time in team history last year and despite having a veteran core, there was skepticism regarding this year’s Vegas product. A new head coach change In Bruce Cassidy along with some questions in regards to goaltending were the major talking points.
Based on Cassidy’s predecessors’ fates, the Golden Knights expect nothing less than winning at an elite level. Luckily for Cassidy and company, the Golden Knights have come out looking stout early on. Taking into account last year’s squad got off to a porous 1-4 start, this year’s 3-0 start has fans in Sin City feeling like the Golden Knights are on the rebound.
The games themselves have provided plenty of action. The season got rolling with a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks saw Golden Knight fans leave T-Mobile arena smiling with a 1-0 victory. The most recent example was made against the Seattle Kraken on the road with a resounding 5-2 win. The Golden Knights have won in tight higher scoring games, low scoring affairs, and in dominant fashion. Arguably three unique win styles have fans excited.
Cassidy has the team playing with emotion, passion and any other word one would use to describe a team that is fun to be around and fun to watch. Drives to the net, breakout passes and an up-tempo style have fans and players alike feeling rejuvenated. The sample size is insanely small, but after tasting the largest disappointment in franchise history last year, Vegas is ready to get back to contending status. But before being a full-blown contender again, you have to start with the small stuff, and early on in this young season, the Golden Knights have done just that. Vegas gets what is likely the toughest test so far tonight on the road in Calgary against a Flames team that has been lighting it up with 9 goals in two games. Small stuff, check. Big stuff, stay tuned.