Here’s why Golden Knights should make playoffs

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If you want to wade through various fancy stats, you’ll find a lot of compelling reasons to argue that the Vegas Golden Knights have a bright future. They’re dominating puck possession most nights, so if they merely start getting some of last season’s bounces, things should be looking up.

But, honestly, the most promising factor might be something really simple.

Through 29 games in 2018-19, the Golden Knights have played 17 games on the road, and only 12 at home. That disparity will become more stark in the next couple weeks, as five of their next seven games will be on the road (pushing it to 22 road vs. 14 home contests).

Having a warchest of home games would be noteworthy for most teams in the modern NHL, where the difference between winning and losing can sometimes be agonizingly small. It’s even more important for the Golden Knights because they’re still deadly in Vegas, baby. They’re currently 8-3-1 at home, and the Vegas trip seems to linger beyond those specific games:

As a reminder, the Golden Knights were 29-10-2 in Vegas last season, so the Golden Knights could really sock away points in their 29 remaining home games in 2018-19.

It’s actually sneaky-promising, then, that the Golden Knights aren’t too far from a playoff spot. With 31 points in 29 games, they’re only one point out of the West’s final wild card spot, and Vegas merely trails San Jose by two points for the Pacific’s third seed.

That’s not to say that the Golden Knights are a slam-dunk to make it somewhere into the West’s top eight, mind you, but various projections love or at least really like Vegas’ odds.

Getting more specific, the Golden Knights could see an uptick from: improved puck luck, stabilizing goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty getting things together, Paul Stastny returning from injury, and Nate Schmidt‘s suspension being over.

In my opinion, additional home teams might just provide the Golden Knights that extra nudge they need to go two-for-two when it comes to making the playoffs.

Celebrate the Golden Knights’ magical first season with NBC Sports:

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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