Who would have ever thought that a hockey team from Las Vegas, called the Golden Knights, in their very first season would be making headlines the way they are? The expansion team is doing what no team has ever been able to do in their very first season: go deep in their respective sport. In fact, the Golden Knights became the first expansion team to make the NHL Playoffs since 1979, an impressive feat in and of itself.
But they’ve not let up one bit since clinching a spot in the postseason. Instead, they have stayed focused and are now just a game away from playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. Last night’s win in Game 4 has them up 3-1 in the series and needing one more win in the next three to get them to an unlikely finals appearance. While it must be said that hockey and its playoffs can be downright random at times, this has been no fluke. Only a handful of teams earned more than the 109 points that they amassed in the regular season, and they are simply following that up now.
This, though, is all the more sweet for fans and players alike because every single one of these players were told that they weren’t essentially needed. It’s not news to know that expansion teams are typically made up on journeymen and so-so players, with possibly a few good-ish players mixed in. What Vegas has done is basically trick everyone by taking players that weren’t valued as highly as they should have been elsewhere. Then, they molded them into a coherent, brilliant team.
At the start of the season, the bookmakers had them at 500-1 to win the Stanley Cup, but suddenly they are looking like they might just be the odds-on favorites to land one of the oldest trophies in all of sports. They can say that in large part due to Reilly Smith last night, who had a goal and an assist to help them win 3-2 over the Winnipeg Jets. A Jets team, mind you, that had more points during the season and ‘should’ be winning. Whether it’s due to randomness or just great play, this is a truly American story that anyone can enjoy and marvel upon.