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Canucks Pacific Division Rival Preview: Vegas Golden Knights

The Canucks have been cursed by faeries and the Vegas flu.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Vancouver Canucks
Never forget those 18 games where Luke Schenn became “Uncle Luke.” The Canucks will be looking for someone else to give them a jolt against the Golden Knights
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Shark tank in San Jose has been a house of horrors, reminiscing on the Canucks performances against the Golden Knights might induce a hangover.

Or cause you to drink. Either one makes sense.

In eight games over two years against the Vegas Golden Knights, the Canucks are 1-6-1. The one game they did win was a shootout victory in October last season, the same game where Alex Edler, Chris Tanev and Sven Baertschi all departed with long-term injuries.

The Vegas flu has been the real deal for the Canucks.

With Los Angeles and Anaheim slowly fading, it looks like one team from Southwestern U.S. had to step in and start dominating the Canucks. That team appears to be the Golden Knights.

In: Jaycob Megna (free agent, ANA), Garrett Sparks (trade, TOR)

Out: Nikita Gusev (trade, NJ), Erik Haula (trade, CAR), Colin Miller (trade, BUF), Ryan Carpenter (free agent, CHI),

Quick Take: It still boggles the mind to think that Vegas had the biggest cap crunch of any team this offseason. What’s even crazier, is that of anyone in the Pacific Division (if not the Conference), this team might have the best chance of going to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Their top six is rock solid, and they only recently added the best forward of the group, Mark Stone. Alex Tuch stays buried on the third line, although he led the team in scoring during the first half of the season. He could even find himself playing with 2017 sixth overall pick Cody Glass if the youngster manages to make the team.

NHL: Preseason-Arizona Coyotes at Vegas Golden Knights
Will Cody Glass make the Golden Knights roster out of camp? If he does, it gives Vegas some solid centre ice depth with William Karlsson, Paul Stastny and Cody Eakin.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

On defence, they still have the underrated Shea Theodore and Nate Schmidt as top-notch puck movers. The play of those two made Colin Miller expendable in the offseason.

After that, the quartet of Brayden McNabb, Jon Merrill, Deryk Engelland and Nick Holden doesn’t seem frightening on paper. However, this group has been gelling for two full seasons, and the team has a top-10 defence since they entered the league.

As long as Marc-Andre Fleury can remain a top-notch goaltender in his 16th NHL season, there’s no reason why the Golden Knights can’t be the best team in the Western Conference. They might have provided the St. Louis Blues with a stiffer test in the Conference Final compared to the beat-up Sharks team that made it there.

Golden Knights overall record in 2018-19: 43-32-7 (3rd in Pacific Division, T-6th with Dallas in Western Conference, T-15th in NHL)

Golden Knights record against Canucks: 3-0-1

After sweeping the season series with the Canucks in their inaugural season, the Golden Knights barely skipped a beat during their four-game series against the orcas in year two. Other than a shootout loss in October, Vegas won the other three games by a combined score of 13-5.

While the Canucks might be falling victim to the Vegas flu down in Nevada, the Knights surely aren’t catching the Roxy Fever up here. In the four games they’ve played at Rogers Arena over two years, they’ve managed five goals per game.

At least Elias Pettersson created one of his best highlight-reel plays of the season against the Golden Knights, or else the Canucks might have nothing positive to take away from their encounters with Vegas.

Vegas started out of the gate slow last season, going 9-12-1 after losing to Washington in the Stanley Cup Final. With a re-loaded roster and fresh off of a stunning loss to San Jose, the Golden Knights should be ready to compete for the Cup in 2019-20.

Golden Knights vs. Canucks games in 2019-20

  • Sunday, December 15th @ Golden Knights (5:00 pm)
  • Thursday, December 19th vs. Golden Knights (7:00 pm)
  • Monday, March 23rd @ Golden Knights (7:00 pm)
  • Saturday, April 4th vs. Golden Knights (7:00pm - Regular Season Finale)