What is up with the Golden Knights? Just before the Christmas break, they lost back-to-back games by a score of 4-3, and both in overtime after having had the lead. To make matters worse, they lost to the L.A. Kings. Again. The Kings are tied with the New Jersey Devils for the worst teams in the league based on total points. And had the Knights just finished the Kings off like they should have, L.A. wouldn’t have earned that extra point and, thus, in fact, be the worst team in the league.
Well, woulda, coulda, shoulda, right?!
Granted, last season was a magnificent anomaly and we would have been foolish to think that a repeat was in order. While there were some roster changes from last season—as well as some injuries—I think one of the primary factors is that Marc-Andre Fleury has played virtually every single game. Backup Malcolm Subban has only started five games—and appeared in six—of the 39 games played all season to date, thus leaving Fleury to bear the brunt of the defensive load. Whereas it’s probably fine to let Fleury start the following day if he wasn’t too active the day before, when he makes 40+ saves in a single game then dons his pads and skates less than 24 hours later, then Vegas, we have a problem.
Further, not only does Fleury risk exhaustion and injury, but Subban’s already compromised self-value and self-esteem take additional hits. By not giving him the starts, team management is, essentially, telling Subban that they don’t trust him. No wonder his stats have been horrible this season. His one great start against the Columbus Blue Jackets on 17 December led to a loss thanks to the subpar play of the rest of the team. So, it’s not entirely Subban’s fault.
At the time of this writing, the Knights are in 3rd place in the Pacific Division behind the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks. Tonight, the Knights host the Colorado Avalanche who also sit in 3rd in their division before having to play the dreaded division-rival Kings 29 December and 1 January.
Go Knights Go!