The Las Vegas Golden Knights have seen success like few expansion franchises ever have, and there are some who think the so-called “Vegas flu” may have something to do with it.
Through the first two months of the season, the Golden Knights are atop the Western Conference with 46 points, making them tied with three other teams for the league’s second-best record. The Golden Knights have won largely by dominating at home, winning 14 of their first 17 games at T-Mobile Arena.
ESPN writer Greg Wyshynski has some speculation about what could be contributing to the hot start in one of the hottest cities in America. He noted that every team that travels to Las Vegas seems to come down with the “Vegas flu,” which he says is “a contagious infirmity that’s the result of late nights at the casino tables or the clubs that surround them, getting swallowed up by the 24-hour party of Sin City, and being so hungover that they’re only one strong body check away from soiling themselves, like Nick Brophy of the Hyannisport Presidents at the beginning of Slap Shot.”
Some members of the Golden Knights agreed with Wyshynski, noting that it’s difficult to stay focused on hockey when teams are staying on the famous Strip, where there are no last calls in bars and plenty to do around the clock.
Though the Golden Knights have gotten off to a torrid start, there will still be tests to come. As SB Nation noted, it will be difficult stretches away from home (the team currently has an 8-7-1 record on the road). The team has a series of four- to six-game road trips throughout the season, and will need to be able to win away from home once the NHL Playoffs start. The team has already shown some difficulty beating the team’s top teams on the road, with just one win over a team currently in the playoff bracket away from Las Vegas.
But the team’s fast start has already put them in solid position to reach the playoffs, and the raucous home crowds at T-Mobile Arena will likely grow even crazier when the playoffs start. So if the Golden Knights can continue to benefit from the “Vegas flu,” they could be in line for a long playoff run next spring.