Golden Knights Know What’s at Stake in Battle for Honda West Division


In what has been a wild, unpredictable 2020-21 NHL season, the battle for divisional supremacy between the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche has been one ingredient that has largely performed out as anticipated.

Amidst divisional surprises just like the rise of the Minnesota Wild and the struggles of the St. Louis Blues to safe playoff positioning within the less-than-deep West, the conflict for the highest spot has fairly well-gone chalk. Simply as many NHL analysts urged forward of the season, the Golden Knights and Avs look like happening to the wire for the No. 1 spot.

The Golden Knights/Avs rivalry, which featured the memorable Lake Tahoe video games, stays sturdy because the season attracts to an in depth. (Photograph by Christian Petersen/Getty Photos)

Vegas and Colorado sit two factors aside atop the division, with solely Minnesota in sniffing distance. The Knights have received seven straight, whereas the Avalanche had received 4 in a row and 9 of 10 earlier than a COVID pause slowed their momentum. Each golf equipment have loved sizzling stretches of play and appeared as if they have been poised to imagine a stranglehold, so it appears becoming that the division crown will come all the way down to who catches hearth within the late phases.

Remaining Schedule

Supplied Colorado encounter no additional unexpected obstacles in a return to the ice, they are going to resume play on Thursday in opposition to St. Louis, with three rescheduled contests to be introduced. Vegas, who will go for his or her eighth win in a row on Wednesday night time vs. the San Jose Sharks, are absolutely anticipating their remaining two regular-season conferences with the Avs subsequent week.

Over their remaining 11 video games, the Knights might discover themselves in a troublesome place in opposition to opponents preventing for his or her playoff lives, with video games in opposition to the Blues, Arizona Coyotes, and to a lesser extent, the Sharks. Colorado appears to have a softer schedule, albeit with three video games left in opposition to St. Louis and 13 video games to play general. Assuming their make-up video games push the schedule previous Might 8, Vegas might in the end find yourself watching their Honda West Division destiny unfold.

What They’re Preventing For

Heading into the 2020-21 season, there had already been some projecting that the West would produce a pointy expertise drop after the highest three groups. That outlook has confirmed largely true, though it’s one thing of a shock that the Wild and never the Blues spherical out that high three. In any occasion, the 14 factors that separate third-place Minnesota from the Coyotes loom giant.

For whomever out of the Golden Knights and Avalanche finishes second, a first-round date with the Wild awaits. That’s notably problematic for Vegas, who’ve dropped 4 of six video games between the golf equipment, with two extra forthcoming. Colorado received 5 of the eight head-to-head conferences however would absolutely desire a playoff collection with the Coyotes or Blues (they’re 10-2 in these video games).

Kevin Fiala Cam Talbot Ryan Suter Joel Eriksson Ek Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild
Each the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights would absolutely desire to keep away from a primary spherical encounter with the rising Minnesota Wild. (Photograph by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI through Getty Photos)

Trying past the very totally different playoff path for every workforce within the first spherical, the division winner would additionally maintain home-ice benefit in a possible, hotly anticipated second-round conflict. Whereas a season performed throughout a pandemic with out packed arenas may appear to decrease the impression of residence ice, the Golden Knights and Avalanche have every misplaced simply 4 occasions in regulation at residence this season.

Because it stands, video games at T-Cellular Enviornment are being performed in entrance of simply over 3,000 followers, whereas Colorado’s Ball Enviornment has been internet hosting roughly 4,000 followers. These numbers might nonetheless enhance as restrictions proceed to ease between now and late Might.

The excellent news for each the Knights and the Avs is {that a} spot within the postseason is all however confirmed – and might be official throughout the week. However merely making the playoffs isn’t the top aim for both membership. No workforce cruises to the Stanley Cup unimpeded, and so that is the place issues get robust for the West’s high two groups. However how robust, precisely? The subsequent few weeks will go a great distance in figuring out simply that.



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