The Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Finals in their first season
Vegas Golden Knights, New Team Created, Western Conference Champions? The odds were 100 to 1 before the start of the regular season. Six months later, the Golden Knights are the last team in the West still standing. Sunday, Vegas won brilliantly at the Winnipeg Jets (2-1) to remove the Conference final without discussion (four wins to one). Since the start of the play-offs, the Nevada franchise has had twelve wins for only three losses. She is now waiting for the identity of her opponent in the final, Tampa Bay (which leads 3 wins to 2) and Washington not having finished fighting. Vegas may support the Capitals in this end of the series in the East whose presence in the final would give him the advantage of the field (which he would not have against the Lightning).
To validate their ticket to the final, the Golden Knights played a match like their play-offs: solid, relying on an exceptional goalkeeper (Marc-André Fleury still author of 31 saves including some exploits) and by being able to take advantage of the slightest opportunities. Like a wink, the winning goal was scored in the 34thand minute by their fourth line, which includes the Frenchie Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who won the face-off at the start of the action and then negotiated a puck well against the railing. At the end, we found Ryan Reaves, a native of… Winnipeg who deflected the puck to score the first goal of his career in the play-offs at 31 years old. Then, the courage and selflessness of the Golden Knights did the rest to leave the Jets offense silent despite the unconditional support of the public.
Vegas will now try to conclude its incredible journey by lifting the Stanley Cup. It would be the first time that an « expansion team » is crowned for its first season in the NHL. Only one has already played in the final, the St Louis Blues in 1968 (a season when the entire conference was made up of new franchises), beaten by the Montreal Canadiens. Even though Deryk Engelland touched the Western Championship trophy, breaking with an old tradition and superstition in the hockey world, the Vegas players seem more determined than ever to go all the way. “He has one word too many on it,” Fleury joked about the “Conference Champions” cap he had just put on. « It’s an unreal feeling to get there when you look back a few months back, recognized Bellemarebut I don’t think we’re still satisfied in the locker room. »