The Vegas Golden Knights are closing in on a playoff spot, which would have shocked most National Hockey League observers last summer if they had known the future. The team's 44-19-5 record currently gives them a 12-point edge over the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Division title with just 14 games left to play. The top three spots in the division earn automatic berths in the Stanley Cup playoffs, so things are looking very good for the Golden Knights in their inaugural season.
With just three or four more wins, depending on how the Sharks perform, Vegas will clinch the division crown. The Golden Knights next play in Philadelphia on Monday evening, but they also get eight of their final 14 games at home in T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip. Since playoff tickets really are hard to come by these days, most NHL fans might want to catch the best show in town during the regular season if they can.
Here's how we view the final eight home games of the regular season at T-Mobile Arena, in terms of the fan experience and the potential for a great game on the ice in Sin City. We've made this easy for you, too: Just click on the game date info for tickets!
8. March 28 against Arizona: Someday, Vegas will experience a ferocious rivalry with the Coyotes (21-35-11). But right now, Arizona is the worst team in the Western Conference. The Golden Knights are 4-0 against the Coyotes this season, so going for a clean sweep could bring out the brooms at T-Mobile.
7. March 20 against Vancouver: The Canucks (25-34-9) are a division rival, although they're having a down season, just like Arizona. The Golden Knights are 2-0 against Vancouver this year, with a road game left to play, too.
6. March 30 against St. Louis: Still fighting for a postseason berth, the Blues (36-27-5) have fallen on hard times lately. Vegas is 1-1 against St. Louis this year, so winning the season series and putting a nail in the St. Louis playoff hopes would be a fun experience for fans.
5. March 18 against Calgary: Another division foe, the Flames (34-25-10) also are in contention still for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Vegas is 2-0 against Calgary this season, including a 7-3 pounding the last time the two teams played each other. Like Vancouver, the Golden Knights also have a road game to play against Calgary.
4. March 14 against New Jersey: On March 4, the Golden Knights beat the Devils (35-26-8) on the road, so New Jersey could be looking for payback later this week. That alone makes this game pretty exciting, especially as it is the last home game of the season against a team from the Eastern Conference.
3. March 26 against Colorado: This is another natural rivalry that will one day blossom for Vegas. The Avalanche (36-24-8) are trying to hang on to their playoff position right now, so this game promises to be hard-fought. The only time these two teams played this year, the Golden Knights won, 7-0. Vegas also has to travel to Denver for a game still this season.
2. March 16 against Minnesota: The best team left on the schedule, based on record alone, Minnesota (39-23-7) is in third place among Central Division teams in the Western Conference. The Golden Knights have lost twice to the Wild this year, both times on the road. Does that mean Vegas wants to win this game? You betcha.
1. March 31 against San Jose: Even though the Pacific Division banner should be hanging from the T-Mobile rafters by the time this game takes place, that doesn't mean the Golden Knights' best division rival won't be bringing its "A" game. Remember, the Sharks (36-23-9) won the Western Conference just two years ago, so this is a big game, still. Vegas is 2-0 against San Jose this season, with a road game in California yet to play as well.
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