Looking ahead for the Golden Knights: How to make sure this isn't a one-year blip

The Golden Knights exceeded nearly all expectations in reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. How do they improve for 2018-19? Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As each NHL team is eliminated from playoff contention -- either mathematically, or by losing in the postseason -- we'll take a look at three keys to its offseason and a way-too-early prediction for what 2018-19 will hold.

What went wrong

The Vegas Golden Knights ran into a Washington Capitals team that inexplicably put it all together, from having its star players lead to playing championship-level defense.

The formula that helped the Golden Knights (51-24-7) shatter records for an expansion team in the regular season and then win the Western Conference title -- depth, speed and Marc-Andre Fleury -- was neutralized by the Capitals.

There's no shame here, as the Knights' run to the Final will be remembered as an incredible moment in sports history. But it did fall short of the ultimate prize.