Sport You pretty much have to root for the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL playoffs

05:10  17 april  2018
05:10  17 april  2018 Source:

NHL playoffs 2018: Bracket, first-round schedule, dates, TV times

  NHL playoffs 2018: Bracket, first-round schedule, dates, TV times The first-round schedule of the 2018 NHL playoffs is set, and the series openers are April 11-12.This year's chase for the Stanley Cup begins Wednesday, April 11, with three series openers. The two-time defending champion Penguins host the cross-state rival Flyers to start their quest for a three-peat in earnest, and the expansion Golden Knights play their first playoff game in franchise history.

What do the Vegas Golden Knights need to do to convince you they are a legit playoff threat? And if those friends ask me about the current NHL season, the most common curiosity is about the Golden Knights . "Wait, are they actually legit?"

Stanley Cup playoff storylines, players to watch. Vegas Golden Knights . And ironically that's what I think is Vegas ' biggest hurdle going forward: managing a roster with so much depth at one position. The NHL hasn't asked for any restrictions on betting Vegas Golden Knights games in Las Vegas .

Getty© Getty Getty

Are you someone searching for a bandwagon to jump on in the NHL playoffs? Then have I got a team for you!

May I present the Vegas Golden Knights, the team that just went up 3-0 in its opening round matchup against the Los Angeles Kings? There is SO MUCH to root for here, and if you're not careful, you're going to miss out on all the fun.

Let's break it down:

1. They have the chance to be an all-time incredible sports story

Expansion teams in their first year of full operations aren't supposed to make the playoffs. They're usually in tank mode, building up young assets while getting veterans left unprotected in the expansion draft to do their best to build a fanbase.

What will Vegas be like for Golden Knights' playoff encore after regular-season 'pool party'?

  What will Vegas be like for Golden Knights' playoff encore after regular-season 'pool party'? T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas has been a hot ticket all regular season. The playoffs figure to be a new kind of spectacle.The Vegas Golden Knights were the hot ticket. Everyone wanted a glimpse of the best expansion team in league history and to soak in one of the most festive atmospheres in all of sports.

NHL teams most likely to bounce back in 2018-19. 6dMatthew Coller. Stanley Cup Playoffs Watch Daily: Playoff chances, tragic numbers and more . What do the Vegas Golden Knights need to do to convince you they are a legit playoff threat?

NHL . Viva Las Vegas : The Golden Knights Have Become the Hottest Act in Hockey . “There was a time I wasn’t rooting for you too much ,” said the Best Buy clerk as Fleury picked up a new television. “but I’m excited to have you here.”

The Golden Knights didn't just reach the postseason in Year 1. They nearly won the Presidents' Trophy for the team with the best record during the regular season. They won the Pacific division with a 51-24-7 record. And they're a real threat to run through the Western Conference en route to the Stanley Cup Finals.

This is unprecedented territory - just read this Five Thirty Eight story with the headline "Vegas Has The Best Expansion Team In The History Of Pro Sports, And It's Not Close." Root for history to be made!!!

2. The "Vegas Flu" might be a thing

That's the nickname for the "condition" that could explain how the Knights won 29 of their 41 home games. The theory: Opposing teams come to Las Vegas, stay up late, gamble and whatnot and come to the arena the next day a little slower than usual.

Golden Knights expect determined Kings in Game 3

  Golden Knights expect determined Kings in Game 3 The Los Angeles Kings are facing a must-win scenario in Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Vegas Golden Knights at Staples Center on Sunday night.  The Kings wasted a record-setting performance by goaltender Jonathan Quick in their 2-1 double-overtime loss Friday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. With the Kings down three of their regular defenseman including Drew Doughty, who was suspended for a hit on Vegas' William Carrier in Game 1, Quick stopped 54 shots to set a franchise record for most saves in a playoff game.

But this is the NHL , where more teams make the postseason than don’t. So in an inaugural season where the Knights were supposed to be fighting in the cellar with the likes of the Coyotes and Avalanche, it’s no longer crazy talk to wonder The Vegas Golden Knights ' Uniforms Are Pretty OK.

— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) October 3, 2017. NHL Playoff Push: Penguins – Devils, Bruins – Bolts, and more . Getty.

It really could be that the team is a deep squad filled with savvy vets, hungry youngsters and a goaltender who knows what it takes to win a Cup. But I really do believe that having the temptations of The Strip could help just enough to give the Knights an edge on some evenings. That said, the Golden Knights were great on the road too.

But, hey, isn't it quirky that the "Vegas Flu" might be a factor for this team and this team only (for now)?

3. They're so Vegas

And don't we all love the over-the-top nature of Vegas? Just re-watch this pregame skit with a knight "fighting" a King:

Also, their mascot is a Gila monster named Chance:

I just love that a Vegas team embraced its Vegas-ness.

4. They're good at hockey

As I said above: There's talent up and down the roster, with scoring that can come from any one of their four lines. They have shot-blockers like Brayden McNabb (6th in the NHL at putting his body in front of pucks) and Deryk Engelland. Goaltender Mark-Andre Fleury turned back the clock this year in the net. This isn't a fluke. They're legitimately good.


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Sean Couturier, playing with a torn MCL, was an offensive force. Who else has turned heads with their early playoff performances?Couturier, playing with a torn MCL during the Flyers' final two playoff games, registered a hat trick and five points in the series-ending loss with the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6. Baun scored an overtime goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs while playing with a broken leg in the 1964 Stanley Cup final.

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