In what was the worst loss of the season, and well, franchise history, the Golden Knights were completely run out of Rogers Place by Edmonton Tuesday night. In the midst of a historic inaugural season for Vegas, this was by far the most demoralizing loss they have faced in an 8-2 thrashing. At no point during the game did the Knights have any momentum whatsoever, as they fell into an early 3-0 hole before the end of the first period. Rookie goalie Maxime Legace was peppered by the talented Oilers offense in just his eighth career appearance facing 29 shots and allowing seven goals before being pulled in favor of Dylan Ferguson who made his NHL debut.
Games like this happen to even the best teams, but one might wonder if this is the beginning of the crash of the Golden Knights that has taken much longer than anybody would have expected. Sitting at second place in the Pacific Division, the club has far exceeded any sort of expectations whatsoever. Despite goaltending injuries, the club has maintained a +5 goal differential and is poised to slide into the playoffs if they remain steady the rest of the way.
A winning season could prove to be huge for the organization as they are tasked with trying to bring hockey into a market unknown to any other major sports league. Everybody knows that winning fills seats in most places, and the Knights have done just that, for the most part, this season. An inaugural playoff appearance would be paramount as the Raiders are set to be the next franchise in town coming in the near future, so if the team can capture a fanbase as soon as possible, it could pay dividends.
The team needs to show resilience from here on out though after the ugly loss to the Oilers. It can be losses like that which send teams into a funk that they can’t get out of, but truly good teams will almost always find a way to bounce back immediately. The club goes to Vancouver Thursday in hopes to remedy their blowout loss against the Canucks.
What is amazing is how efficiently this organization has been run in its first year- minus the Shipachyov incident. The team has drawn interest from all over the league and may just make Vegas a hockey town despite many people’s doubts. There is no doubt though that the team is interesting to watch, and so far lack of quality play cannot be looked at as a reason this organization could fail. One would expect the surging team to make a turnaround from their blowout loss.