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Golden Knights Gameday

Golden Knights Gameday: Six D? Six D! Hague In

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Nicolas Hague

Nick Holden enters the lineup for the Vegas Golden Knights as the team prepares for a stretch of four consecutive games against the Arizona Coyotes

Want to prepare for the game like a pro? Read on for former NHL broadcaster Tom Callahan’s news and notes for the game tonight.

As the Vegas Golden Knights prepare to start a series of four straight games against the Arizona Coyotes, the team has announced lineup changes for the contest.

Vegas Golden Knights 2-0-0 vs. Arizona Coyotes 1-0-1

After playing the first two games with five defensemen and 13 forwards, head coach Pete DeBoer announced the team will return to a more standard six defenseman and 12 forwards. Nic Hague returns to the lineup and will pair with Zach Whitecloud on the 5/6 pair. That means Cody Glass, who had struggled in his first two games of the season, will head to the press box.

Vegas has done some juggling of lines in practice in accordance with the new lineup and you can expect it to look something like this:

Forwards

Pacioretty-Stephenson-Stone

Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith

Roy-Nosek-Tuch

Carrier-Kolesar-Reaves

Defense

McNabb/Pietrangelo

Martinez/Theodore

Hague/Whitecloud

It’s also possible that Roy will slide to the middle with Nosek on the wing. The nice thing about the Golden Knights’ depth is that they have more than a few natural centers on the team. Nosek, Roy, Kolesar, Glass, Karlsson, and Stephenson can all play center. So keep that in mind.

Also, the power play units have shifted as well since Glass is out. Tuch has taken the place of Glass on the PP1 unit, while Roy and Hague saw time on the second unit in practice. Of course since Vegas has only had two power plays we haven’t seen much in the real world that tells us how good or how bad things are going to go in that department yet.

For Arizona, probably the biggest note is that Oliver Ekman-Larsson is not on the trip with the team for the first two games after suffering an injury last game. While it’s not believed to be long-term, missing OEL is a huge hole for the Coyotes when it comes to generating offense from the defense.

Keep an Eye On

Vegas – I’ve really liked the start to the season for Mark Stone. He’s made some incredible plays to set up important goals for the Golden Knights and is flying around out there. If being named captain has put a little extra pep in his step to start the year, so be it. No one looks like they’re having as much fun out there right now as Stone.

Arizona – Phil Kessel is on fire to start the season. Three goals in his first two games on five shots. No, that sick 60% shooting percentage is not going to last. But it does mean that Kessel is feeling it and his nose for the net is twitching. I realize many people like to dump on Kessel, but the guy can score. Last year was a disappointing one for Kessel and the Coyotes, so the pump has been primed for a bounce back year.

Notes

VGK

  • Vegas has been tied with its opponent after the first period in both games of the season so far and gone on to win.
  • The Golden Knights have not scored in the second period yet this season, while the Coyotes have not allowed a goal in the second period yet.
  • Vegas has not allowed a third period goal in its first two games.
  • The VGK have only had two power plays so far this season, the fewest in the NHL.
  • Reilly Smith needs one assist for 100 with the Golden Knights while William Karlsson needs two assists for 100 with the team.

ARI

  • All three of OEL’s assists on the season came in the last game against San Jose.
  • Arizona is averaging four goals per game in its first two games, fifth-best in the NHL.
  • Phil Kessel’s three goals in two games puts him approximately a quarter of the way to his season total last year of 14 goals.
  • Kessel does have five goals in seven career games against the Golden Knights.

 

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