The Vegas Golden Knights have burst out to a 3-1 series lead through four games against the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Vegas finished the regular season eight points behind the Sharks and came into the series with one win in its final eight games. But after dropping Game 1 of the series, the Golden Knights have scored five-or-more goals in three consecutive wins to put San Jose on the brink of elimination heading into Game 5 on Thursday.
Though Vegas has shown that its game has gotten better each game, they want to keep improving as they seek to eliminate the Sharks.
"We have to keep investing in our game and building up so we can keep getting better," said forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
The Golden Knights scored in the first two minutes of Games 2, 3 and 4 to pounce out to the early lead. Those fast starts and effectively threw the Sharks out of their rhythm early in each contest, but it's more than scoring quick goals that spells success for Vegas.
"When you start the game with a goal on the first shift, everybody is buzzing afterward," Bellemare said. "The small details, the strong plays on the puck and the 1-on-1 battles are the things you realize when our team is really checked in."
On the defensive end of the spectrum, Brayden McNabb said he wants the team to be more consistent and prevent the Sharks from getting opportunities to score on Marc-Andre Fleury.
"We've done a great job of putting the puck in the net, but we gave up too many chances last game," McNabb said. "We want to be a better team in all three zones and control the momentum in games."
As the hours leading up to puck drop pass and the players lock into their game mindset, McNabb said he still thinks about what it was like to be a kid dreaming about postseason hockey in the NHL.
"As a kid, all you want to do is play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs," McNabb said. "It's all a process and hopefully it will result in a long run."