If you put a lot of stock into EA Sports NHL 19 simulations, well, you shouldn’t. It’s a video game. But nevertheless, I decided to simulate the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs to see how the Vegas Golden Knights would fare in their second consecutive trip to the postseason.
I regret to inform you, though, that things did not go quite as well as last season. The Knights were eliminated in the the first round by the San Jose Sharks in six games. And despite some inspiring moments, the series was never really all that close.
The Sharks got the best of Vegas to start the series, shutting the Knights out in both Game 1 (2-0) and Game 2 (3-0). Despite some questioning Martin Jones’ ability to take his team on a deep playoff run, the 29-year-old goaltender had about as good a start to the postseason as one could ask for.
The Knights finally got things going in their first home game of the series, though. Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Max Pacioretty and Ryan Reaves each netted goals to secure a 4-2 victory in Game 3. However, the Knights couldn’t keep up the momentum in Game 4. San Jose got back in the winning column with a 3-2 victory in T-Mobile Arena to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Of course, Vegas wasn’t ready to roll over just yet. Despite his team being outshot 36-25 in Game 5, Marc-Andre Fleury put together his first shutout of the series to guide the Knights to a 3-0 victory in SAP Center. Unfortunately, that wound up being Vegas’ last win of the series (and the season). The Sharks took Game 6 by once again shutting out the Knights 3-0. San Jose would advance to the second round to take on the eventual Stanley Cup champs — the Colorado Avalanche, of all teams.
For what it’s worth, I did a second simulation just for funsies. In that simulation, Vegas went to the Stanley Cup Final again (and also lost again), so take that as you will.
Moral of the story, as fun as these NHL 19 simulations are, they are in no way an accurate representation of what’s to occur in the postseason. Take all of this with a really, really huge grain of salt.