Las Vegas Sun

October 18, 2019

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Season predictions: How will the Golden Knights’ third campaign play out?

VGK VS  Sharks: Game 1

Ben Margot/AP Photo

Golden Knights’ Mark Stone, center, celebrates with Max Pacioretty (67) and Shea Theodore after scoring a goal against San Jose during Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in San Jose, Calif.

If everyone knew what would happen in the upcoming Vegas Golden Knights season, watching the games wouldn’t be as fun.

Yet, many Golden Knights supporters are confident in their vision for how the season will play out. That vision, of course, ends with players hoisting the Stanley Cup and a parade down the Strip.

We also have some predictions. Here’s our attempt to predict what will transpire in the third season in franchise history. Feel free to come back in April to point and laugh.

1. First things first. Do the Golden Knights win on opening night? The atmosphere will be too electric not to beat the Sharks.

2. Who will lead the team in goals this year? Max Pacioretty with 34.

3. Not Mark Stone? It will be close. That line will be one of the best in hockey.

4. Is William Karlsson a 43-goal scorer or a 24-goal scorer? 24. Not that that’s a bad thing.

5. Will the Golden Knights break their single-game goals record? They would need nine to do that so probably not.

6. What about allowing the most goals they ever have? Better chance of scoring nine than allowing nine.

7. How many players score at least 20 goals? Four: Pacioretty, Stone, Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault.

8. How many will score 30? Two. Pacioretty and Stone.

9. How many will have 50 points? Seven Pacioretty, Stone, Karlsson, Marchessault, Alex Tuch, Reilly Smith and Paul Stastny.

10. Will anyone score four goals in a game for the Golden Knights? Hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll say yes.

11. Who leads the team in assists? Paul Stastny with 51.

12. Who leads the Golden Knights in points? Stone with 81.

13. What about defensemen? Shea Theodore with 48 points.

14. How many goals will Theodore have? 15.

15. How good will Marc-Andre Fleury be this year? Good, but not Vezina-finalist good: 31-22-4, .912 save percentage, 2.46 goals-against average.

16. How many shutouts will Fleury have? Six.

17. Who is the third goalie behind Fleury and Malcolm Subban? Slight edge to Garret Sparks right now, but he’ll be in a battle all season long with Oscar Dansk at AHL Chicago.

18. Who leads the team in ice time? Nate Schmidt for the third year in a row. He’ll see a boost to his penalty-killing time. Theodore right behind.

19. How do the Golden Knights do against the Sharks? Four regular season games and they will split them. One win in each city.

20. What will be the Golden Knights’ longest winning streak? Six games. The second week of the season against Arizona, Calgary, Los Angeles, Nashville, Ottawa and Pittsburgh could be a possibility.

21. Will the power play improve? Yes. It was 25th in the league last year. Look for it to be 17th to 23rd.

22. What about the penalty kill? It may take a small hit with the departure of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. It was the 14th-best unit last year, so expect a slight drop.

23. Who scores the first goal of the season? Let’s go with Cody Eakin on Wednesday against the Sharks for the redemptive narrative.

24. Will any game this year fail to sell out? Not a chance.

25. What will the Golden Knights’ record at home be? 24-14-3.

26. What about their first-half record? They get off to a blazing start: 26-11-3 at the Christmas break.

27. Who has a better season than last year? Look for a breakout year from Shea Theodore. Max Pacioretty, too.

28. Who takes a step back? Cody Eakin and Ryan Reaves.

29. How many fights does Reaves have this year? Three.

30. How many does the rest of the team have combined? Three more.

31. What can we expect out of Cody Glass? If the Golden Knights get 40 points out of Glass, it would be very encouraging.

32. How many players suit up for the Golden Knights this year? They used 31 last year so let’s go 30 this year.

33. How many goalies? Four.

34. Does anyone play 82 games? Karlsson, Marchessault and Stone.

35. Will the Golden Knights make another big trade deadline splash? Tomas Tatar two years ago and Mark Stone last year. Yes, look for a right-handed defenseman who can run the power play.

36. How many awards finalists will the Golden Knights have? One. Mark Stone for the Selke again.

37. Will Stone win? Odds are against a winger winning the Selke, so I’ll say no. Will be close again.

38. Will any Golden Knights receive MVP votes? Two. Stone and Pacioretty. Stone finishes in the top 10.

39. What will the Golden Knights’ final record be? 46-29-7.

40. Will the Golden Knights make the playoffs? Seems like a pretty safe bet with 99 points.

41. Who will they meet in the playoffs? The Sharks will win the Pacific, Knights finish second. That gives them home-ice against the third-place team, Calgary.

42. Wait, does that mean ...? Yep. A second-round date in San Jose.

43. Will they win this time? Vegas kills a late penalty while leading in a clinching game to beat the Sharks.

44. How far will the Golden Knights go into the playoffs? A return to the Stanley Cup Final. This is the best team in the Western Conference.

45. So the Cup will have a parade down the Strip in June? Not this year. The Cup will get a tan in the Tampa Bay sunshine.

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