The Boston Bruins were without two of their top players in Craig Smith and Brad Marchand on Tuesday due to COVID-19 protocols. Now on Thursday, this outbreak has spread within the Bruins organization, and now Patrice Bergeron, Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, and Jeremy Swayman have all joined the COVID protocol list.
Why does this matter for the Vegas Golden Knights? Well just hours before they were placed in COVID protocols, the Boston Bruins played against the Golden Knights in Boston. Four players that played in that game for the Bruins are now in protocols. But thankfully no players for the Golden Knights are there.
“Nobody in COVID protocols, knock on wood. But that is always in the back of your mind. Especially with what is going on around the league,” said Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer who will take on his former team in the Devils.
The Golden Knights (17-11) will take on the New Jersey Devils (10-12-5) tonight at Prudential Center for a 4:00 puck drop. It will be game one of a back-to-back for the Golden Knights as they will head to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers Friday night.
“I said going into this trip that this was going to be a tough trip. I think we have four good teams, four tough buildings to come into and win and I think we are getting a desperate team here tonight that is looking to get back on track and that is dangerous,” said DeBoer.
The Golden Knights have been on a roll as of late and have won five of their last six games. With the Edmonton Oilers now in a bit of a slump, the Golden Knights sit top-three in the Pacific Division standings.
Nicolas Roy is expected to miss his second-straight game with an unknown injury. DeBoer lists him as a game-time decision. Keegan Kolesar and Brett Howden bumped up as the Golden Knights center depth last game as a result. With it being a back-to-back, Laurent Brossoit is expected to start as he was absent from the team’s morning skate.
All eyes will once again be on the big guns for the Golden Knights. Max Pacioretty is on a tear with twelve goals in his last eleven games. Mark Stone is starting to find himself on the score sheet more often. Alex Pietrangelo continues to be a horse, and Chandler Stephenson is showing no signs of backing down as the Golden Knight’s top center.
On the Devils side of things, they have struggled this season and dealt with some injuries to some big pieces. They just got Jack Hughes back in the lineup but are still without captain Nico Hischier. The Devils are second-to-last in the Metropolitan Division standings.
“They have a few guys down. But for us, that is no excuse. We have to show up and we have to do the right things to win a hockey game day in and day out and every day. We are going to take it one period at a time and win every battle that we can and make sure we win the game,” said Golden Knight’s all-time leader in games-played Jonathan Marchessault.
Jesper Bratt leads the team in scoring with 24 points in 27 games played. Mackenzie Blackwood is expected to start in net.
PROJECTED VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS LINES
(Lines updated at the start of pregame warmups)
Max Pacioretty- Chandler Stephenson- Mark
Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson- Reilly Smith
Mattias Janmark- Nicolas Roy- Evgenii Dadonov
William Carrier- Brett Howden- Keegan Kolesar
Nicolas Hague– Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb- Zach Whitecloud
Ben Hutton- Dylan Coghlan
Robin Lehner/Laurent Brossoit
Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
Special Teams: 17.13% Powerplay (24th) and 79.01% Penalty Kill (23rd)
PP1: Stone, Stephenson, Dadonov, Theodore, Pacioretty
PP2: Smith, Karlsson, Marchessault, Kolesar, Pietrangelo
PK1: Karlsson, Smith, McNabb, Pietrangelo
PK2: Janmark, Stephenson, Hague, Whitecloud
Jack Eichel, Nolan Patrick, Alec Martinez, Shea Theodore
PROJECTED NEW JERSEY DEVILS LINES PER PUCKPEDIA
Pavel Zacha- Jack Hughes- Jesper Bratt
Andreas Johnsson- Dawson Mercer- Tomas Tatar
Janne Kuokkanen- Yegor Sharangovich- Marian Studenic
Jimmy Vesey- Michael McLeod- Nathan Bastian
Ty Smith- Dougie Hamilton
Jonas Siegenthaler- Damon Severson
Kevin Bahl- Mason Geersten
Mackenzie Blackwood/Jon Gillies
New Jersey Devils Special Teams
12% Powerplay (31st) and 79.52% Penalty Kill (20th)
PP1: Johnsson, Hughes, Bratt, Zacha, Hamilton
PP2: Vesey, Mercer, Tatar, Smith, Severson
PK1: McLeod, Vesey, Siegenthaler, Severson
PK2: Sharangovich, Kuokkanen, Geerston, Hamilton
Miles Wood, Jonathan Bernier, Nico Hischier, Ryan Graves, Christian Jaros, Jesper Boqvist, PK Subban
How to Watch/Listen: 4:00 pm on ESPN+ and Fox Sports 98.9 FM.