In a weird way, the fate of this NHL season does not need to be defined by the coronavirus.
That can be decided in a video game. Because, why not?
In need of a dire hockey fix, I thought it would give us something to do by firing up NHL 20 and simulating the Vegas Golden Knights’ games for as long as we can. On Sunday, I did a test stream for the matchup against the Colorado Avalanche (which Vegas won 7-3).
On Tuesday, the Golden Knights were set to return from their five-game road trip to take on the Dallas Stars in a matchup of playoff-caliber teams going in different directions. Vegas was playing well despite injuries to Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone, while Dallas was just trying to stay afloat in the Central Division race.
I’m not sure if NHL 20 is the best way to garner realistic results, unless you could care less about realism, then by all means proceed as planned. But this was a game that if it were to happen in real life, I’d question the product that was on the ice.
Imagine, if you will: Chandler Stephenson records his first NHL hat trick, Zach Whitecloud scores his first NHL goal, and Robin Lehner makes 53 saves while still allowing five goals. That was this sim for the Golden Knights who *won their fifth straight game by beating Dallas by a final of 8-5.
Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and two assists, and William Karlsson scored to pace the Golden Knights to what can only be imagined as a seven-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division. In the virtual world, no other games matter because that is a lot of time consumption that I’m not prepared for.
Ben Bishop made 54 saves for the Stars; neither goalie was a star of the game because when offense rules the day, goaltending is covered in invisible ink. Tyler Seguin had two goals for Dallas and Esa Lindell had two assists.
Keep in mind that both of these simulations have come via computer versus computer. Trying to control the outcome in such a game is not ideal. Therefore, the conclusion I can draw from with these past two simulations is that the Golden Knights are the greatest first period team in NHL history. With a makeshift second line of Brandon Pirri, Karlsson, and Nicolas Roy, the Golden Knights have found a way through divine intervention to score nine goals in their past two periods.
That has to be a record of some sort, or at the very least, close to tying such a mark.
Perhaps I will tinker with the sliders prior to Wednesday’s matchup against the Arizona Coyotes. The plan is to stream and write on that as well, so if you want to stop by, keep a look out on the old Twitter machine to find out times and details of when such a stream is going down.
If you’d like to watch it in the off chance you don’t believe me, here you go. Enjoy the hockey shenanigans that are meant to get us through these weird times.