The Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural playoff series will bring together two clubs on opposite paths—the expansion team heading into uncharted waters for its first-ever playoff experience, and the former champs, full of veterans with multiple Stanley Cup rings, looking to cap off their redemption effort with a return to the top of the post-season mountain.
That isn’t the only way this series brings together two opposing forces, however. It’ll also pit one of the season’s best offensive clubs against one of its best on the defensive side. Vegas finished fourth in the league in terms of goals scored, iced the 10th best power play, and averaged the ninth-most shots per game. How’s this for an answer? The Los Angeles Kings allowed the fewest goals league-wide, have the season’s best penalty kill numbers, and averaged the eighth-fewest shots-against per game.
Their four meetings during the regular season suggest it isn’t quite that simple, though. Each side earned two wins and each got one of those in regulation and one in overtime. A dead heat. As well, both teams have thrived off of completely unexpected performances—William Karlsson’s 43 goals are more than double the total he posted over his previous three seasons combined, and Dustin Brown put up a career-best 61 points at age 33 after watching his numbers decline over the past half decade.
Does Vegas’ Cinderella story keep running to the second round? Or does the seemingly insurmountable number of playoff games under the belts of Los Angeles’ leaders help them navigate their way through Vegas?