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Golden Knights Gameday

Golden Knights Gameday #31: Lehner Returns to Long Island: Lines, Notes vs Islanders

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Vegas Golden Knights New York Islanders AWAY

The Vegas Golden Knights (19-11) will play in UBS Arena for the first time in franchise history as they take on the New York Islanders (8-12-5) Sunday. This is a bit of an early matinee game for the Golden Knights and will start at 11:00 am PST (2:00 pm EST). This game will wrap up the Golden Knight’s four-game East Coast road trip in which they are 3-0 on so far.

Thanks to the team winning seven of their last eight, the Edmonton Oilers struggling, and the Calgary Flames on a pause due to COVID-19, the Golden Knights have climbed up to second in the Pacific Division standings. With a win tonight, the Golden Knights can tie the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the division with 40 points in the standings.

Meanwhile, the New York Islanders have struggled hard this season. Injuries, COVID-19, and just an overall lack of urgency have let the Islander’s season slip out of their grasp. They are dead-last in the Metropolitan Division standings and after two straight trips to the Eastern-Conference Finals, it looks as if the Islanders will not make the playoffs this season.

They are led in scoring by Mat Barzal, who due to COVID-19 protocols, will not play in Sunday’s game. Barzal joins Ryan Pulock as players unavailable for the Islanders on Sunday. Iyla Sorokin is expected to start for the Islanders.

The Golden Knights are not expected to make any lineup changes outside of starting Robin Lehner over Laurent Brossoit who played last game against the Rangers.

Keys to the game

Robin Lehner returns to Long Island

Sunday’s game will mark the first time Robin Lehner will return to Long Island since leaving the New York Islanders in 2019. Lehner has always been one of the most outspoken players in the NHL when it comes to mental health. In the 2018-19 NHL season, Lehner was a member of the New York Islanders and developed a special bond with the Islanders fanbase as a result of this.

Lehner went as far as to say that the Islander’s fanbase “saved his life.”

I think about it all the time. I’m not trying to make a big deal out of it. I was there one year. It’s not like I was there 10 years. But it’s going to be nice seeing them all again. They have a special place in my heart and in my family’s heart,” said Lehner.

Expect a huge standing ovation for Lehner from the Islanders fanbase and a big night between the pipes from Lehner as a result. He is freshly shaven for the event too, thanks to Islander’s general manager Lou Lamoriello’s rules.

Take Advantage of the Islanders’ Defense

After losing guys like Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, and Devon Toews, as well as having Ryan Pulock on the IR, the Islanders’ defense has taken a hit as of recent. Adam Pelech still leads the team on the back end but the Islanders have had to rely on aging veterans like Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene to play significant minutes for the team.

For the Golden Knights, establishing a strong forecheck early on will be a huge key to the success of the game. The Golden Knights also need to continue their strong transition game through the neutral zone. Something we have seen the misfit line of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, and Reilly Smith have success with lately.

Get the Top-Line Scoring Again

The Golden Knight’s top line of Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Chandler Stephenson has been held off the scoresheet for the past two games. With the trio having a tremendous amount of success prior to this two-game drought, it is reasonable to expect a big game from them tonight.

Stone and Pacioretty had their nine-game point streaks snapped two games ago versus the New Jersey Devils. Despite this, both are putting up ridiculous numbers this season as Pacioretty for example has 12 goals in 13 games. Stephenson still leads the Golden Knights in points with 29 in 29 games played.

PROJECTED VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS LINES

Offense

Max Pacioretty- Chandler Stephenson- Mark Stone

Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson- Reilly Smith

Mattias Janmark- Nicolas Roy- Evgenii Dadonov

William Carrier- Brett Howden- Keegan Kolesar

Defense

Nicolas Hague– Alex Pietrangelo

Shea Theodore- Dylan Coghlan

Brayden McNabb- Zach Whitecloud

Goalie

Robin Lehner/Robin Lehner

Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams

Special Teams: 17.33% Powerplay (22nd) and 71.91% Penalty Kill (23rd)

PP1: Dadonov, Stephenson, Stone, Theodore, Pacioretty

PP2: Roy, Karlsson, Smith, Marchessault, Pietrangelo

PK1: Stephenson, Stone, McNabb, Pietrangelo

PK2: Howden, Kolesar, Hague, Whitecloud

Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols

Jack Eichel, Nolan Patrick, Alec Martinez

PROJECTED NEW YORK ISLANDERS LINES PER PUCKPEDIA

Offense

Anthony Beauvillier- Brock Nelson- Josh Bailey

Andres Lee- Jean-Gabriel Pageau- Oliver Wahlstrom

Kyle Palmieri- Austin Czarnik- Zach Parise

Matt Martin- Casey Cizikas- Cal Clutterbuck

Defense

Adam Pelech- Scott Mayfield

Zdeno Chara- Noah Dobson

Robin Salo- Andy Greene

Goalie

Iyla Sorokin/Semyon Varlamov

New York Islanders Special Teams

16.18% Powerplay (26th) and 83.56% Penalty Kill (7th)

PP1: Lee, Nelson, Palmieri, Wahlstrom, Dobson

PP2: Parise, Pageau, Bailey, Beauvillier, Salo

PK1: Cizikas, Clutterbuck, Pelech, Mayfield

PK2: Pageau, Parise, Chara, Greene

Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols

Ryan Pulock, Mat Barzal

How to Watch/Listen: 11:00 am on ESPN+ and Fox Sports 98.9 FM.

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Owen Krepps is the new beat writer covering the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. He has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, Pittsburgh Sports Castle, Pittsburgh Hockey Now, and The Titusville Herald.

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