Showed Up When It Mattered Most

On February 6, the Vegas Golden Knights put the NHL on notice by taking down the Edmonton Oilers. After winning 16 straight games, Vegas had to let Edmonton know that they were still the team to beat in the Western Conference.

It has been a steady attack for the Golden Knights, both on defence and offence. Their ability to keep the puck out of the net won them the game, as Adin Hill allowed one goal on 31 shots.

He played so well that superstar Connor McDavid acknowledged him after the game. He had the following to say, according to the Associated Press.

“Their goalie played well and made some big saves,” said Connor McDavid, who scored Edmonton’s goal. “It’s always a tough game in this building, we were expecting that. Disappointing, but, we move on. It’s been a while since we’ve done that and you forget sometimes how bad you hate losing. It’s a good reminder.”

Hearing from the best player in hockey that you had a good game is telling as competitors typically do not show their appreciation to the other team.

Hill, however, proved this season that he might be the best goalie in the NHL. He’s leading the league in goals allowed per game at 1.88 and save percentage at .938%. He’s a huge reason why the Golden Knights have 66 points and just 139 foals allowed, the fifth fewest in the Western Conference.

Despite the game being in Las Vegas, this was an impressive win from the Golden Knights. Edmonton did not look beatable, but that was not the case when the defending Stanley Cup champions came to town. Hill spoke about the massive win for his team.

“I know that they’re hot over there, and they had won however many in a row, but I was more focused on just playing our game tonight and trying to get two points,” Hill said. “It’s a big rivalry, and for us to do it with a couple guys that were missing in our lineup is huge.”

Who Can Beat The Golden Knights?

When looking around at the Western Conference, it is tough to see a team that can beat the Golden Knights in a seven-game series.

The Colorado Avalanche have certainly proven to play well in the postseason, and the Dallas Stars are another team that has veteran leadership and can beat anybody at any given time. 

However, the Edmonton Oilers have had playoff struggles in the past, and although their 16-game win streak wasn’t impressive, they have to show their ability to win when it matters most in the playoffs.

The one team to possibly watch out for in the Western Conference is the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver has 73 points, the most in the Western Conference and NHL by two points.

Their +60 goal differential is the best in hockey by nearly 20 goals. However, similar to some of the other teams in the Western Conference, their lack of playoff success in recent memory leaves for more to be desired.

Vegas has scored 166 goals, which ranks them second in the Pacific Division. They have had a study attack behind Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, and others. Eichel has dealt with injuries and has not played since January 11, so they will be even better eventually. The Athletic’s Jesse Granger had an update on Eichel’s injury.

“The team didn’t give a timeline for Eichel’s return, but it’s safe to say Vegas will be without its top center and leading scorer for some time. Eichel leads all Golden Knights with 19 goals and 44 points. He also leads all Vegas forwards in ice time, playing a big role on both special teams units.”

This is one of those teams that has proven time and time again that despite the numbers not necessarily saying that they are the best team in hockey, they have the veteran leadership and star power to win when it matters most in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

As that was proven again on Tuesday night, the Western Conference needs to take notes.

More analytics on NHL: