A weird season for the Vegas Golden Knights comes to a rather bleh conclusion tonight. Vegas closes out the regular season, and has their final tune-up for the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Kings.
The fate of the Golden Knights has already been determined; they’ll be in San Jose next week for the first round of the playoffs against the Sharks. The Kings will solidify their NHL Draft odds tonight. The chances for #SlackForJack or #DroppoForKakko are growing with a very nice 69 points for L.A. A win for the Kings could push them to third ahead of New Jersey.
So, there’s at least something ... to ... play ... for? Who knows?
For the Golden Knights, the task is to get to San Jose in one piece.
Here’s what’s to watch for.
Come on down, Jimmy Schuldt
The Golden Knights’ newest acquisition will make his NHL debut tonight. Schuldt, a Hobey Baker Finalist, will receive the Zach Whitecloud treatment and get a taste of the NHL lifestyle.
Schuldt had 35 points in 39 games for St. Cloud State, the top seed in the NCAA Tournament that lost in a shocking 2-1 first-round upset to American International College on March 29. The defenseman, who was part of Golden Knights development camp this past summer, had an assist on the team’s lone goal.
“The people here are so great,” Schuldt said. “It’s one of the biggest reasons why I’m here. The culture and the people here are so awesome. What they’ve built here in the last two years is incredible.”
At time of this writing, Schuldt’s defensive partner is not known. It could be a night off for one of the top guys (Nate Schmidt, Shea Theodore) or a veteran like Deryk Engelland. But this is the first game for someone who could be an important contributor for Vegas next season.
Another start for Marc-Andre Fleury
Vegas’ top netminder returned for the first time in 10 games Thursday in a 4-1 loss to Arizona.
Looking at the score, it wouldn’t look good for Fleury. But he made 36 saves and looked really solid in net. He made some great saves and looked healthy. Three of those goals weren’t his fault, and to reiterate, that game meant nothing. Much like this one will mean nothing.
But it’s another good chance for Fleury to shake some rust off. The Golden Knights’ chances in the playoffs rest on 29 in net for next week against San Jose; not against the Kings tonight.
Fleury is also one win from 440 in the NHL, if you’re into the whole milestone ordeal.
A quick thought on this season
It seems like yesterday that the Golden Knights were playing in the Stanley Cup Final. That season dragged on for what seemed like years. This one breezed through, and there was a lot — Schmidt’s suspension, Brandon Pirri’s jolt of play, the Mark Stone trade — it all happened.
Now, Vegas is back in the playoffs and we’re getting the chance to watch them go for the Cup for a second time. That’s pretty cool; Vegas fans should feel fortunate for such good fortune. We’ll be in San Jose for the first two games of the series, so be sure to check in with us throughout.
Here’s to, hopefully, another playoff run.