Nothing beats the story about the Vegas Golden Knights. Nothing.
You can be a hater, and you can talk about how they needed to pay their dues, but none of it matters. The reality is that they are going to be in the 2018 Stanley Cup and they will be waiting for their opponent. That is an envious scenario for any team in a physical sport like hockey.
With the wait, it is time to reflect on the team itself and see why they might win it all. The Golden Knights are four games away from winning it all. Here are the three reasons they have a legitimate shot.
Marc-Andre Fleury is a monster
When discussing Vegas, it should begin and end with Fleury. After being a part of multiple Pittsburgh Penguins’ Cup runs, Fleury has the experience of an all-time great netminder. After putting up solid numbers for most of his postseason career, he has now gone up to another level. Fleury is saving the puck like never before, and it is resulting in the Golden Knights’ wins. At a .947 save percentage, he is putting up numbers better than any Vezina Trophy-winning season. Vegas is playing well, but it would be nowhere without Fleury.
They swarm the neutral zone
In a sport that is notoriously conservative, the Golden Knights aren’t afraid to be aggressive. They are always jumping on pucks in the neutral zone. If they see an opportunity, they take it and run. They want to make sure that any loose puck ends up in their hands and they turn it into a scoring chance. While most are okay with staying back and letting the play come to them, the Golden Knights have taken an approach that coaches use but don’t utilize enough. It also helps out that they have the personnel to make this happen. They have speed all over the ice at every position, and it continually frustrates their opponents.
Their top players are playing like their top players
All season long the Vegas Golden Knights have been relying on their top line of Reilly Smith, William Karlsson, and Jonathan Marchessault. It is a hungry group. All three were cast aside by their clubs or were allowed to be taken in the expansion draft. They have only turned around and become some of the most prolific scorers in the NHL. In the postseason, not much has changed, all three are in the same position as before. They are leading the team in postseason scoring and have matched up against some of the top players in the league without much issue. If they’re going to win the Stanley Cup, they will be part of the reason why.