With the round-robin series coming to an end, the battle for the top spot in the Western Conference comes down to the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights. The winner will nab the top seed in the Western Conference, while the loser will secure the second seed for the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In their last game before the break, the Avalanche beat the Knights 7–3 at the T-Mobile Arena with former Golden Knights forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare tallying two goals in the victory. During the regular season, the Avs held a perfect 2–0–0 record against the Knights, tallying 6–1 and 7–3 victories respectively. The interesting thing about these lopsided victories was that the Avs beat Vegas on the road both times.
Since the Golden Knights arrived into the NHL in 2018, the Avalanche hold an all-time record of 5–3–0, but currently, ride a four-game winning streak against the highly entertaining Knights.
Following an exciting day of eliminations during the qualifying round, the Avs now have a better idea of who they will face in the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With a victory over the Knights, the Avalanche will face off against the Chicago Blackhawks, who are coming off of a surprising series win against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers.
If the Avs happen to lose this showdown against Vegas, they will capture the No. 2 seed and will meet the Arizona Coyotes in the first round of the playoffs, who are coming off on an exciting series against former Avs forward Matt Duchene and the Nashville Predators.
So…who should you keep an eye on during the Avs showdown against the Knights?
With two assists, I think we can expect a big performance from Avs superstar Nathan MacKinnon. Knowing everything that is at stake, expect MacKinnon to take control of the game, and put the Avs on his back with an exceptional performance.
On the other side of the die, the player to watch for the Knights will be forward Mark Stone. With 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in the two round-robin games played, Stone has been on a roll as of late and has found his offensive touch.