The Vegas Golden Knights are in Denver tonight to kick off a two-game set with the Colorado Avalanche with the balance of power in the Honda West Division on the line.
Vegas Golden Knights (22-7-1) at Colorado Avalanche (20-8-3)
If you’re a fan of either team, you will definitely get up for this two-game series. Two of the best teams in the entire league, never mind the division. Head-to-head, one versus two. Both coming in hot, with seven wins in the last 10 games. Both rosters packed with superstars.
What’s not to like?
Let’s get to the big ticket items first. Max Pacioretty is on the trip and is a game time decision according to head coach Pete DeBoer. Alex Pietrangelo is not on the trip but has been upgraded to day-to-day instead of week-to-week.
Regardless of the lineup for the Golden Knights, this series could set the tone for the remainder of the regular season for both clubs.
Keep an Eye On
Vegas Golden Knights
Brayden McNabb. McNabb wasn’t in for the first four games of the series, as he was out with injury. But having him back in the lineup means improved defensive coverage against weapons like Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Nazim Kadri. McNabb has good vision and awareness on the ice, especially cleaning up for a partner who may have rushed the puck up the ice. While the VGK won’t have last change on the road, expect McNabb to be trotted out against the Avalanche top line at every possible moment.
Cale Makar. It might be a little surprising to go with a pair of defensemen for this feature, but Makar has battled injuries including most recently an upper body injury that kept him out 10 games. He did miss the first two games of the four-game set between the two teams earlier this season as well, so the Golden Knights really haven’t seen much of Makar yet. That said, he’s an incredible talent who can turn the fate of a game in the blink of an eye. Makar’s ability to change direction while handling the puck and avoid a check is incredible to behold. He can extend plays and generate offense when it looks completely impossible. And that’s to say nothing of his defensive acumen. Makar is going to be one of the best players in the league for a long time to come.
Golden Game Notes:
- Alec Martinez ranks second in the NHL in blocks with 92 on the season and the Vegas Golden Knights lead the NHL as a team in the category, averaging 15.04 per game.
- Both wins for the Golden Knights have been shutouts this season. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped a total of 64 shots across both games.
- Ryan Reaves next point will be his 100th career point.
- The Avalanche are currently on a franchise record stretch where they’ve scored at least one goal in 20 consecutive periods.
- Nathan MacKinnon is on a seven-game point streak (5-8-13).
- Gabriel Landeskog has points in six straight games (3-8-11).
- Six Avalanche players have ten goals or more, tied with the Florida Panthers for the most in the NHL.