Keep the champagne on ice, for now.
The Vegas Golden Knights’ clinching of a playoff spot is on hold after losing to the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in a shootout at Pepsi Center on Saturday.
Gabriel Landeskog scored the lone goal in the shootout, giving the Avalanche an all important two points (41-26-8, 90 points) to take over the first wild card in the Western Conference and tie with the Minnesota Wild for third in the Central Division.
As for the Golden Knights ... two points on a two-game road trip against two potential playoff teams.
Jonathan Marchessault scored at 1:15 of the third period to tie the game at 1-1. Carl Soderberg scored for the Avs at 13:52 of the first period.
If Vegas (47-21-7, 101 points) wants a playoff spot tonight, it’ll need regulation losses from the St. Louis Blues and the Los Angeles Kings tonight. Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks are winning against the Calgary Flames, as the Pacific Division lead shrinks by, at least, another point.
If the opportunity is there, finish the job soon.
That should be the mentality for teams in the rarefied air Vegas is in. Playoff clinching scenarios, especially, should be heightened with a greater sense of urgency. It’s the time of year that coaches and players actually claim to look at the standings. When such instances are unable to be reached, it gives the fan base a sense of concern.
The Golden Knights are going to clinch a playoff spot sooner or later, along with the Pacific Division. It’s a matter of when, not if. It’s a situation most teams would like to have, rather than be those on the outside looking in and in major need of points with a handful of games to go.
Vegas got two points, in two road games, against two teams that are fighting for playoff positioning. It should’ve been at least three. Fortunately for the Golden Knights, they have their final four games all in a row with a chance to lock down everything. It’ll start with the second part of a home-and-home against this same Colorado team, with a healthy Marc-Andre Fleury in the fold.
Until then, Vegas will be watching some TV tonight.