Golden knights vs stars
Photo Credit: NHL

Game Preview: Golden Knights vs Stars – Round Robin – Game 1

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Tonight, the Vegas Golden Knights take on the Dallas Stars in their first round-robin game. Vegas won their exhibition game against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night by a score of 4-1. Nashville shut out Dallas on Thursday by a score of 2-0.

 

The Stars may be without center Tyler Seguin. Seguin was the Stars’ team leader in scoring, accumulating fifty points in sixty-nine games played. Jaime Benn was the second-leading scorer for Dallas with thirty-nine points. For comparison, Vegas had six players score greater than thirty-nine points in the regular season. Someone will need to step up for Dallas to make a run in the 2019-2020 postseason.

 

Golden Knights vs Stars
Photo Credit: Arizona Republic

Vegas will be without Max Pacioretty for tonight’s game. Coach Pete DeBoer has mentioned that Paciorettyis on the horizon” to returning. Look for Chandler Stephenson to take his place for the second straight game alongside William Karlsson and Mark Stone. Nick Cousins will center the third line with Alex Tuch and Nicolas Roy. That means Tomas Nosek will center the “Meatgrinders” line with Ryan Reaves and William Carrier.

Robin Lehner gets the net as DeBoer will be rotating goalies for the exhibition and round-robin games. One must wonder if these first four games are an audition between Lehner and Marc Andre Fleury, or if the plan is to have some type of set rotation throughout the playoffs. Hopefully, we get to see how the rotation goes for thirty games or so.

 

 

What do the round-robin games determine?

 

The top four teams in regular-season points in each conference will play each other. At the end of the round-robin games, the teams will be re-seeded using regular-season scoring. If a team earns six points in the round-robin games, they will be the top seed in their respective conference. If two teams accumulate the same amount of points in the round-robin games, the tiebreaker will be points accumulated in the regular season.

VGK was third place in the conference behind Colorado and St. Louis, and ahead of the Dallas Stars when the NHL paused the season. After the round-robin games and Stanley Cup Qualifiers conclude, the top remaining seed will play the lowest remaining seed, the next highest seed will play the second-lowest remaining seed, and so on throughout conference play.

 

What do the round-robin games mean? 

 

vgk weekly update 7/6/2020
Courtesy: AP Photo/Marc Sanchez

I am not sure what they mean, honestly. In a traditional setting, the playoffs start days after the regular season concludes. This season is different. Teams have had time to heal, a second training camp to work the kinks out, and plenty of time to plan for their potential opponents. How much of a difference is there from the five seed to the twelve seed in each conference?

Would it really be a gift for the Vegas Golden Knights to face the twelfth seed Chicago Blackhawks if Vegas sweeps the round-robin games and Chicago upsets Edmonton? Congrats Vegas on winning three round-robin games…now you get to meet Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Alex DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik, and Corey Crawford. That is not a complaint by any means; there will not be any pushovers once the Stanley Cup Playoffs officially start.

 

 

Tonight’s game is the first meaningful game for Vegas in a long time. Enjoy it! The next three games won’t be too stressful compared to when the Stanley Cup Playoffs start next week. Going 3-0 in the round robin games does not mean Vegas is going to win the Stanley Cup. Going 0-3 does not mean the season is soon to be over.

 

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-Chris Gawlik – Franchise Sports Media

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