Since their inception in 2017, the Vegas Golden Knights have quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the National Hockey League (NHL), building intense rivalries with other teams in just a short amount of time. Heated rivalries in sports often stem from close geographic proximity, divisional matchups or historic events, and they can elevate the excitement and energy of the games for both players and fans alike.
In the case of the Vegas Golden Knights, they have already formed a few notable rivalries that have caught the attention of hockey enthusiasts. These rivalries not only highlight the competitive nature of the NHL but also showcase the passion and dedication of both the players and the fanbase. Over the course of their brief existence, some of the most significant rivals for the Golden Knights have included the San Jose Sharks, the LA Kings, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights have developed a heated rivalry since the latter’s entry into the NHL in the 2017-18 season. Both teams compete in the Pacific Division, which has intensified their rivalry on the ice. The Sharks have faced the Golden Knights in numerous regular season and playoff games, contributing to animosity between the two clubs and their fans.
Key Meetings and Clashes
One of the key meetings between these two teams took place during the 2019 playoffs. In a dramatic Game 7, the Sharks executed a remarkable comeback fueled by a controversial major penalty call against the Golden Knights. The Sharks ultimately advanced to the second round, further solidifying their rivalry.
In a more recent matchup, the Golden Knights have held the upper hand against the Sharks, as they recorded a 3-0-1 record against them during the 2019-20 regular season. This dominance has only fueled the competitive spirit between these two teams.
The playoff battles between these clubs have been a major factor in the development of their rivalry. They have faced each other in 13 playoff games over the past two Stanley Cup Playoffs, providing numerous high-intensity, memorable moments for both fanbases. As both teams continue to strive for success in the NHL, this rivalry is expected to remain fierce and competitive for the foreseeable future.
Los Angeles Kings
The rivalry between the LA Kings and the Vegas Golden Knights has grown stronger in recent years. Geographical proximity and shared division have contributed to the intensity of this rivalry. The Kings, along with the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks, have been rivals for the Golden Knights since they entered the NHL.
Several memorable duels stand out in the rivalry between the LA Kings and the Vegas Golden Knights. For instance, in January 2023, the Kings closed in on the second-place spot in the Pacific Division after a 5-1 victory over the Golden Knights.
In the 2019-20 season, the Golden Knights dominated the Sharks, winning 3 out of 4 matches during the regular season. This dominance only solidified the rivalry between the Kings and Golden Knights, setting the stage for more intense battles in the future.
The Anaheim Ducks, previously known as the Mighty Ducks, have been one of the biggest rivals of the Vegas Golden Knights. Since the Golden Knights entered the league in 2017, the rivalry between these two teams has grown significantly. Geographically close and sharing the same division, the Ducks, along with other California teams like the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks, have formed an intense in-state rivalry with the Golden Knights.
There have been several important matchups between the Anaheim Ducks and the Vegas Golden Knights that have contributed to the growth of the rivalry. Some of these noteworthy games include:
- Anaheim’s Wild 6-5 Win (April 5, 2023): In this high-scoring game, the Anaheim Ducks managed to hold off the Vegas Golden Knights, with Troy Terry scoring his 15th goal during the Ducks’ four-goal second period. The game ended in a narrow victory for Anaheim, proving they could take on the Golden Knights in a close contest.
As both teams continue to compete in the same division and generate playoff implications, the rivalry between the Anaheim Ducks and the Vegas Golden Knights is expected to remain strong, providing fans with exciting and engaging hockey games.
The Arizona Coyotes share a geographical proximity with the Vegas Golden Knights, contributing to the formation of a natural rivalry between the two desert-dwelling teams. Since the Golden Knights joined the National Hockey League (NHL) in 2017, they have encountered the Coyotes multiple times.
One memorable match between the two teams took place on November 17, 2022. In this game, the Vegas Golden Knights triumphed over the Arizona Coyotes with a final score of 4-1. Alex Pietrangelo played a pivotal role in the victory, with one goal and two assists to his name that night.
Though the Coyotes have faced defeat against the Golden Knights on multiple occasions, this rivalry remains strong due to their geographical connection and position within the league. As the Golden Knights continue to gain experience and forge rivalries with other teams, the matches against the Arizona Coyotes will always carry a special significance.
The rivalry with the Colorado Avalanche is regarded as one of Vegas Golden Knights’ most significant rivalries in recent times. Their competitive spirit and shared division in the Western Conference contribute to this intensifying rivalry.
As both the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche compete in the NHL’s West Division, the stage was set for a new and intense rivalry between the two teams. Although the Avalanche has older rivalries against the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild, their contests against Vegas have quickly gained notoriety.
The inception of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 and their astonishing first-year playoff run demonstrated that they were a force to be reckoned with. As these two teams clashed on multiple occasions, hockey fans began to take note of the increasingly competitive encounters between them.
Key Matches Between the Teams
Some memorable matches between the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche have significantly contributed to this rivalry. Here are a few highlights:
- 2021 Playoffs: In a thrilling back-and-forth exchange, the Golden Knights rallied to win against the Avalanche in Game 3. Famously, Marchessault and Pacioretty scored only 45 seconds apart to turn the tide in their favor, handing Colorado their first loss of the playoffs during that match.
- 2021 Regular Season: On a particularly contentious game night, the Avalanche managed to gain the upper hand against the Golden Knights in a tight 3-2 victory. Nathan MacKinnon scored the game-winning goal in the third period, securing a win for his team under immense pressure.
- 2017-18 Regular Season: In the Golden Knights’ inaugural season, they were undefeated (3-0-1) against the Avalanche in the regular season, highlighting the team’s determination to make their mark as a formidable force in the NHL despite being a new franchise.
With these significant matches and the intensity showcased between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche, fans can look forward to more gripping and competitive encounters in the future.
Determining Factors of Rivalries
In the world of sports, rivalries are bound to form between teams. For the Vegas Golden Knights, there are a few key factors that contribute to the growth of their rivalries. These factors include geographical proximity, competitive edge, and fan involvement. Let’s dive deeper into each of these contributing factors.
One of the main factors contributing to the formation of rivalries is geographical proximity. When teams are located close to one another, it naturally creates a sense of competition between them. This is often referred to as the “battle of the neighbors,” where teams compete for local bragging rights and fan loyalty. For the Vegas Golden Knights, their geographic rivals would be the teams within the same division or near their location, such as the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks.
Another major contributing factor to rivalries is the level of competition between the teams. Intense competition can develop when both teams are vying for the same playoff spots or have faced each other in crucial postseason games. This heightened level of intensity fuels the fire of the rivalry and keeps fans on the edge of their seats. For the Vegas Golden Knights, their playoff showdowns against the San Jose Sharks and other competitive teams have helped to build a sense of rivalry in the fanbase.
Lastly, fan involvement plays a critical role in the development of rivalries. When fans engage in competitive banter or show strong loyalty to their team, it can help to create rivalry narratives. This fan-driven passion can lead to a continued growth in rivalries and influence how the teams and players view their opponents. For the Vegas Golden Knights, their passionate and enthusiastic fanbase has helped to solidify and further develop rivalries with opposing teams.
In conclusion, geographical proximity, competitive edge, and fan involvement are the key factors that contribute to rivalries between teams like the Vegas Golden Knights and their opponents. These factors help to make each matchup exciting, as players and fans alike seek to claim victory over their rivals.