The Vegas Golden Knights have defied the odds all season long. No one expected anything of them this season. I think many of their fans would have been happy to just get to the playoffs. But not only have they gotten there, but they are four wins away from a Stanley Cup.
Now is the time however that the Golden Knights need to be at their very best as they go for history.
What needs to be done? Let’s go through my three keys to the Golden Knights capturing their first Stanley Cup in franchise history:
The Three Keys To The Series for Vegas
Continue to Smother Opponents On Defense
The Golden Knights have made some of the best offenses look really bad. They held the Kings to just three goals in a four-game sweep. They struggled versus the Sharks a little bit in the second round, allowing the Sharks to score 14 goals in six games. And then shut down the Jets allowing just 10 goals in 5 games. Which is a total of 27 goals in 15 games which is a Goals Against Per Game of just 1.80, which is a nod to the combined effort between the defense, and Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Golden Knights stifle their opponents with aggression on defense. They do not allow the opposing offenses to breathe or get open. The Golden Knights have the perfect recipe for success and they have executed since day one. And it could pay off in the end if they can capture the ultimate prize.
The Fleury Factor
I hate placing so much pressure on a goalie, especially since they have a hard enough job. But Fleury is one of the biggest factors in this series. The defense and goaltending for the Golden Knights are 1A and 1B. You can truly flip flop on which one is most important.
The main point though is that Fleury just has to do what he has done all year long and that is to be there when it matters. Be there when the team makes a mistake. Be there when the defense makes a mistake. Pretty much just be there when you are called upon in the heat of battle. And Fleury has been since the beginning of the year.
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Contain The Caps Top Six Forwards
No team has had the answer for the Capitals top six forwards. And I think the Golden Knights can be that team that can stop them. However, it all starts in the neutral zone. Preventing the Capitals from gaining the zone in attack mode will drastically slow their offense.
One of the biggest keys for a Golden Knights victory will be making sure the top line, particularly Alex Ovechkin, does not get any easy looks. The Golden Knights need to force them to beat you with their three other lines and on the special teams. As good as Fleury has been, there may be no answer for a hot Ovechkin.