I like to believe that every National Hockey League fan enjoys a game that takes place in Winnipeg. The whiteout, the noisy crowd, the passionate fan base and their entertaining chants - all the elements are there for a good time. Even the crowd outside the Bell MTS Place, which near close to 25 00 people for the first game of the Western Conference Finals - is as entertaining as the people who paid money to attend the contest.
It was no different on Saturday night, but it was probably not as fun for the Vegas Golden Knights players and their fans. Especially seeing that the Jets managed to take an early lead and hold on to it to win the first contest of the Western Finals 4-2, and taking a 1-0 lead in the series.
It even pushed some fans to start wondering why the Golden Knights did have the privilege of home ice advantage for the third round series. After all, they did have a better record this season than the Jets…
Finally, Bardown dug and found the explanation from the league on the playoff format:
Home-ice advantage through the first two rounds goes to the team that placed higher in the regular-season standings. In the Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final, home-ice advantage goes to the team that had the better regular-season record, regardless of the teams' final standing in their respective divisions.
Therefore, the team with the better regular season record gets home ice in the Conference and Stanley Cup Final. Winnipeg had a better regular season record (114 points compared to Vegas' 109), and thats why they got home ice for the series.
It was the first time in their history that the Golden Knights started a series on the road after previously hosting the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks in the first and second round of the postseason. It is easy to say that the passionate crowd in Sin City has met its match with the one in Winnipeg. It is also the first time the Golden Knights are behind in a series.
So Vegas might be starting a series on the road for the first time, but it had to come at some point, right?