LA Kings not surprised by Vegas Golden Knights’ success
EL SEGUNDO — Expansion franchises often take years to become competitive. That’s not the case with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Vegas entered its game Wednesday at Anaheim with 48 points, tied with the Kings atop the Pacific Division with three games in hand.
The Kings, who will host the Golden Knights at 7 p.m. Thursday, aren’t the least bit astonished by a team that had won eight of its past nine before taking on the Ducks.
“I’m impressed, but I’m not surprised,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said after practice Wednesday. “They have all those second- and third- and fourth-line guys that are all just hard-working players and guys that will do anything it takes to win.
“They’re going to be hard on the forecheck, they’re going to block shots, they’re going to be relentless on the puck, they’re going to try and win every battle. That’s why they’re beating teams. They’re not surprising anyone anymore. They’re just outworking teams and outcompeting teams.”
Another Kings defenseman, Alec Martinez, believes the Golden Knights’ home ice at T-Mobile Arena has been a factor. They, along with Tampa Bay, share the best home record in the league at 15-2-1.
“I mean, the atmosphere there is awesome,” said Martinez, whose team lost 4-2 to Vegas at T-Mobile on Nov. 19.
And even though the Golden Knights don’t have a tremendous road record — they were 8-7-1 before Wednesday — Martinez can’t say enough about their overall body of work.
“They play a really fast game,” he said. “A lot of speed; they’re all over you on the forecheck. Really mobile (defense). And I think they’ve had quite a number of goaltenders this year. That’s been a bit of a story, and they’ve all played well for them.”
Vegas had to use four goaltenders over the season’s first 10 games because of injuries, five overall; […]