How do you explain the Golden Knights?
Seriously, how do you?
As Vegas has improbably - to many - roared out to a 9-4-0 start, it's confounded fans and experts alike as to how this team is doing this.
After all, when the Golden Knights defeated the Ottawa Senators on Saturday for the club's ninth win, Vegas surpassed the amount of wins the Washington Capitals won in their entire first season. The Golden Knights enter Monday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs only one win behind the 1992-93 Ottawa Senators for win total in that club's entire first season, and is only three back of the 1972-73 New York Islanders.
Video: The Golden Knights play the Toronto Maple Leafs
Although the Expansion Draft format now is far more favorable now than back then, it still seems to defy reality. The Hockey News, for one, predicted that Vegas would be one of the worst teams of the modern era this year, before the season.
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During Saturday's broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada, Elliotte Friedman shared an interesting take, relaying what the word of mouth has been amongst hockey insiders over the previous few weeks.
"One exec said today, there's one team playing like they're in the playoffs, and that's Vegas," Friedman said. "A lot of teams ratchet their intensity up throughout the year. Vegas is No. 1 on the list.
"People feel that because all of their excitement, and because they play with all the goalie troubles, Gerard Gallant has ratcheted that team up to understand that they have to play a level higher than everybody else.
"And they're delivering."
Video: Gerard Gallant on the challenges Toronto poses
When asked about Friedman's comments, Gerard Gallant kind of downplayed them. That he's happy with the intensity the team has played with, but wouldn't go out on a limb as far as Friedman.
"As a coach, you want your team competing and playing hard every day," Gallant said. "We know that the longer we stay in the hunt, the more confidence we're going to get. You're proud when your team works hard and you're very competitive, and that's what you expect when you're a coach. I think our players expect to play that way every night.
"I think the guys know if they don't play that hard, they're not going to win. We don't have the superstars on our team. The elite, elite players. We have a lot of good hockey players that are character guys and work hard. For us to win, we have to compete every night and outwork the other team."