Ladies and gentlemen, the first-round series we were all hoping for is actually going to happen. The Vegas Golden Knights will be taking on the San Jose Sharks — yes, the Sharks — in a best-of-seven series to open up the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Thanks to the Calgary Flames’ 5-3 victory over the Sharks on Sunday, the good Alberta hockey team (you suck, Oilers) has officially clinched first place in the Pacific Division. This locks the Sharks and Golden Knights into second and third place in the division, respectively.
Vegas and San Jose met in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs as well. The Golden Knights won that series in six games to advance to the Western Conference Final, and, well, you know the rest.
This season’s series is shaping up to be even more interesting than last year’s postseason clash, though. The Knights and Sharks put on a show Saturday night at SAP Center in San Jose, and things got pretty heated between the two clubs from the get-go — particularly between Vegas’ Ryan Reaves and San Jose’s Joe Thornton.
Here's what led to the melee during the commercial break. Appears Joe Thornton put the butt-end of his stick into Ryan Reaves' neck. pic.twitter.com/u3imiT8olN— x-Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 31, 2019
Though the Sharks ended up winning Saturday night’s game in overtime, the Golden Knights did end up getting the best of San Jose in their season series (a 2-1-1 record in four regular-season meetings).
So, what do we know about this first-round series? Well, the dates still need to be set. But we do know that the series will start in San Jose, giving the Sharks home-ice advantage if the series goes the distance. In that scenario, Games 3, 4 and 6 will all be held at T-Mobile Arena.
If Saturday night’s battle was any indication of what’s to come in the postseason, there will be a ton of fireworks. Get some popcorn handy, maybe a few cold ones and enjoy.
This will be a war.