It’s official: Vegas will miss the NHL postseason for the primary time in franchise historical past.
The Golden Knights’ second-half collapse to this season left them with wafer-thin playoff hopes, and people had been snuffed out solely on Wednesday in a 4-3 shootout loss to host Chicago.
To remain alive, Vegas would have needed to defeat the Blackhawks in any vogue and Dallas would have needed to lose in regulation to Arizona. The Stars and Golden Knights performed one another on Tuesday, the place a regulation win by Dallas would have eradicated Vegas outright. Vegas led Dallas twice in that recreation, however finally fell in a shootout.
That put Dallas’ magic quantity to clinch a spot forward of Vegas at one level, which it cliched with Wednesday’s Vegas loss to Arizona.
Now that the Stars have clinched the Western Convention’s last playoff spot, the 16-team discipline is about. Seeding will proceed to be decided this week.
“I’m shocked. I’m disenchanted. I’m on the entrance of the road for accountability,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer mentioned. “There’s plenty of expectations on this workforce. It’s not a straightforward factor and it doesn’t really feel good for anyone proper now.”
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For the Golden Knights, this goes down as a wasted season. The growth membership had made the playoffs in every of the previous 4 seasons, advancing to the Stanley Cup Remaining in its inaugural 2017-18 marketing campaign.
Vegas appeared prefer it may very well be contenders once more this season. In early February, the Golden Knights had been a top-10 membership within the league with a 28-16-3 file and hadn’t suffered consecutive regulation losses in over two months.
Round that very same time, captain Mark Stone was sidelined by an damage from which he wouldn’t return till early April. That was a major loss however transferring Stone to long-term injured reserve allowed Vegas to activate Jack Eichel after his restoration from herniated disc surgical procedure.
The Golden Knights had orchestrated a blockbuster commerce with Buffalo in November to carry Eichel on board and put them excessive. And for Eichel, becoming a member of Vegas meant an opportunity to lastly seem in his first profession playoffs after failing to succeed in the postseason from 2015 to 2021 with the Sabres.
Eichel has produced for his new workforce, gathering 12 targets and 22 factors in 33 video games. It was all of the Golden Knights’ different points that caught as much as them.
Key accidents to Stone, Max Pacioretty, Robin Lehner, Reilly Smith and others took their toll. Stone was capable of re-join the lineup on April 12 however was pointless in his first six video games again. After which Lehner, after battling shoulder and leg accidents, was pressured into season-ending surgical procedure earlier this week.
“On paper, what can anybody say we’re lacking? We have now all of it,” Pacioretty mentioned. “However on the identical time, everybody is aware of that onerous work beats that expertise on paper and chemistry might be what’s most essential, on and off the ice.”
Vegas’ playoff future then rested on rookie Logan Thompson within the crease, who entered Tuesday’s recreation with a stable 14-9-5 file and .917 save share (greatest amongst freshman goalies with a minimum of 10 begins).
Vegas couldn’t overcome its personal defensive deficiencies although and left Thompson out to dry repeatedly of late. Towards the lowly San Jose Sharks on Sunday, the Golden Knights led twice at 3-1 and 4-2 solely to disintegrate down the stretch and lose in a shootout.
In the end, Vegas lacked consistency, amongst different issues, when it was wanted most.
“There’s clearly going to be plenty of time for reflection,” Pacioretty mentioned. “Numerous choices will likely be at this level sort of out of the gamers’ management however you bought to anticipate when a workforce underperforms the best way we’ve got this 12 months, all bets are off.”
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