Tonight the Vegas Golden Knights return to the ice for the first time since Monday night when they travel to California to play the Anaheim Ducks at 7 pm PT.
Vegas Golden Knights (11-4-1) vs. Anaheim Ducks (6-10-4)
The Vegas Golden Knights return to the ice after the postponement of Thursday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks due to a COVID-19 protocol listing of forward Tomas Hertl.
First and foremost, the sending-down of goalie Oscar Dansk, defenseman Dylan Coghlan and forward Patrick Brown shows where the Golden Knights are in regards to their roster. Goaltender Robin Lehner and defenseman Brayden McNabb appear ready to return from injuries, while Tomas Nosek is back from his time on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list.
In Lehner’s absence, Marc-Andre Fleury has been carrying the load capably in net. Fleury has started seven straight games in his absence due to an upper body injury, and while George McPhee did say earlier this week he’d like to see a rotation develop again it’s not clear when Lehner will start.
Something else that’s not clear is the lines for Vegas tonight. Head coach Pete DeBoer won’t tip his hand until warm-up, and there could be several moving parts at play. Even on defense where McNabb could slot back in on the top pair it’s not quite clear if that’s the plan yet.
Whatever the lineup, Vegas is fresh off splitting a four-game series with the Colorado Avalanche in which the top two teams in the Honda West Division split two games apiece. The series was by far the toughest test for Vegas so far, and the Golden Knights looked good winning 3-0 on Monday.
Conversely, Anaheim has not won since shutting out the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0 back on February 11th, going 0-4-1 since. The Ducks have surrendered 19 goals in those five games while scoring only an average of two per game. Some of the big names have been disappointing for the Ducks this season, including big free agent signing Kevin Shattenkirk who has only contributed five assists so far. In fact, no Ducks player has more than ten points on the season except Max Comtois (8-5-13) who has fared well against the Golden Knights this season with four goals and five points in four games.
Keep An Eye On
Vegas Golden Knights
Mark Stone has four assists and five points in four games against the Ducks this season despite Vegas being shut out in the last outing against Anaheim. Stone has been the spark plug for the Vegas Golden Knights, leading the team in assists (13) and points (17). In a game where Vegas could get the Ducks to fold early if they get out in front, his line will be key.
It’s hard not to single out Max Comtois for Anaheim. He scored the first three goals of the season for the Ducks, all against Vegas. Comtois leads the team in points both against the Golden Knights and overall. On a team begging for production from just about anywhere, his ability to stay hot against the Golden Knights will be incredibly important.
Vegas Golden Knights
- Jonathan Marchessault has a three-game point streak (2-1-3).
- Alex Tuch has three goals in his last two games.
- Vegas is 8-0-1 when scoring first this season, while the Ducks have given up the first goal in nine of its 20 games this season, winning only once when that happens (1-6-2).
- Vegas also has not lost a game when leading after any period this year. They’re 5-0 with a first period lead and 6-0 with a second period lead.
- While Max Comtois leads the Ducks in points this season, he’s also converting his shots at an incredible 23.5 percent rate.
- The Ducks penalty kill has been surprisingly good this season, ranking sixth overall in the NHL with an 85.2 percent success rate.
- Cam Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk will play in their 700th NHL games tonight.