Hockey fans from around the globe have been scratching their heads since the beginning of the season. Why, you make ask? The answer is simple. They’re wondering how the hell a group of self-proclaimed “misfits”, which apparently weren’t good enough for their original teams to protect, could do so well? They’ve even made it to the playoffs, steamrolling the favoured LA Kings and San Jose Sharks in the first and second rounds, respectively. This is no fluke. There are some very solid reasons as to why they are doing so damn well.
They’re No Slouches
The team was drafted mainly out of second and third string players that are all battling for the top spot. There are no weak links, or constant call-ups, except for the debacle with goalies at the beginning of the season, of which they still managed to pull through. Guys like William Karlsson, James Neal, and Jonathan Marchessault, just to name a few, have either been great players in the past and later forgotten, or passed over for bigger names on former teams. These guys are proving their worth now, and it has been incredible to witness.
A Playoff-Worthy Goalie
Everyone knows that you don’t stand a chance in the playoffs if you don’t have a goalie, and Marc-Andre Fleury has been unstoppable for the Knights. Sprawling, diving, and making absolutely clutch saves when it counts has been, arguably, the number one reason why they are doing as well as they are. He also has Stanley Cup finals experience, including three championship rings, has been an All-star three times, and carries a laundry list of other awards.
Finishing Checks and Winning Battles
Whether it’s a stick or body check, finishing the task is the key to winning a battle. Swiping your stick at an opposing player then circling away is worse than doing nothing, because now your back is turned to the puck carrier, deeming you almost useless. Instead, every player digs and fights for the puck every chance that they get. They are then rewarded for their efforts with puck possession, leading to them advancing further up the ice, and eventually more scoring opportunities.
All-in-all the Vegas Golden Knights have been crushing the competition because they’ve been playing hockey the way it’s supposed to be played – with heart!