The Vegas Golden Knights became the first NHL team to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a convincing 4-1 win in Game 5 to send the Winnipeg Jets home — and the team has aspirations to go all the way in 2023.
“I think it was our best, or closest to complete, but like I said, we still have work to do and we know that,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said, according to Associated Press. “Nobody plays their best game in the first round. You keep building, and we’ll do the same.”
Things looked precarious for Las Vegas after losing Game 1 and home-ice advantage, but it was smooth sailing after that; the Knights won four straight games to reach the Western Conference semis for the fourth time in their six year history.
The Golden Knights advanced to the final in their inaugural year in 2017-18, and this team is arguably even deeper than the one that lost to the Washington Capitals in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
After making the playoffs in each of their first four seasons, the Knights didn’t qualify last season, and it’s clear that there’s a chip on this roster’s shoulder to keep pressing on.
“I thought overall it was one of our better games,” star forward Mark Stone said after the Game 5 victory. “I thought we stuck to the program for the majority of those last four games that we played.”
Stone was excellent for the Knights after missing 39 games of the season due to his second back surgery in less than a year; the 30-year-old boasted two three-point games in the opening-round series.
The Golden Knights will now have a short break as they await the winner of the Edmonton Oilers-Los Angeles Kings series, which is currently 3-2 Edmonton with Game 6 on deck for Saturday night in California.
“Both are really good teams, so it doesn’t really matter,” Vegas forward William Karlsson said. “They obviously have their own strengths. Different teams. It doesn’t really matter who.”
The way Vegas is playing, they’ll be as tough an out as any team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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