The Vegas Golden Knights have a bit of an early game Friday as they take on the Anaheim Ducks for their third meeting of the season. The game will be home and will start relatively early at noon which is something Golden Knights forward William Karlsson is a fan of.
“I do like getting up and then just pretty much getting to play. The beauty of an early game is that you have a long time before you have to go to bed again. So it’s usually a very good day,” said Karlsson.
The Golden Knights currently sit first in the Pacific Division standings with 42 points. But with a loss tonight, the Ducks can leapfrog the Golden Knights for the top spot in both the division and the Western Conference.
With a great mixture of young skill and veteran leadership, the Ducks have been a bit of a surprise this season. They have already tied their win total from last season with seventeen and with a win tonight can tie the number of points they had in the standings in all of 2019-20.
They are led in scoring by Troy Terry who has 30 points in 32 games played. Captain Ryan Getzlaf has only one goal this season but makes up for it with 20 assists in 28 games played. However Friday afternoon the Ducks are expected to be without two of their top players in Trevor Zegras (COVID-19) and Cam Fowler (upper-body).
For the Golden Knights, they will welcome back both Evgenii Dadonov and Alex Pietrangelo from COVID-19 protocols. A timetable for Brett Howden, and head coach Peter DeBoer, who also were placed in COVID-19 protocols is unknown.
Both Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty will remain out for the Golden Knights, allowing for more ice time for fresh players in the top-six. Pacioretty underwent successful wrist surgery on Thursday and Stone was placed on injured reserve. Robin Lehner is also day-to-day for the Golden Knights.
Nolan Patrick is likely a game-time decision Friday afternoon as well. This could potentially be Patrick’s first game back into the Golden Knights lineup since October 22nd.
“Everything has gone really well for Nolan so I will have the chance to speak with Kelly (McCrimmon) and Pete (DeBoer) this afternoon (yesterday) and make a final decision on whether or not he has the green light to play tomorrow (Friday). He has progressed really well with Misha Donskov and we have put him back in practice play,” said Golden Knights assistant head coach Steve Spott.
Keys to the game
Get up and play some hockey
With it being New Year’s Eve and all, Friday’s game between the Golden Knights and Anaheim Ducks is an afternoon game. This will allow players, coaches, and even fans attending the game, to spend the Holiday with their families tonight. Escaping the traffic on the Strip before New Year’s Eve is also key!
The Golden Knights have been off from game action for two days, and as mentioned before are getting some reinforcements back in the lineup. Golden Knights assistant coach Steve Spott says the team enjoys playing afternoon games. Hopefully, they can play well in them too.
“They enjoy playing afternoon games but twelve o’clock is early. It changes a lot of the routines up obviously. But we will come in tomorrow morning, we have a meal here tomorrow morning, we will get to the rink early and it will be nice to play an afternoon game and then get home at a reasonable hour,” said Spott.
Today marks the end of the calendar year, not hockey season
In any year New Year’s Eve can feel like a bit of a relief as if you have just ran a marathon and are finally able to rest and get a fresh start. While that may be the case in some aspects for the Golden Knights, the team’s upcoming schedule shows no signs of slowing down.
Now out of the sudden COVID-19/Holiday break that the entire NHL underwent, the Golden Knights have a packed schedule heading forward. They start a six-game homestand against the Ducks Friday with games after every other day up until January 11th against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Golden Knights only saw two of their games get canceled due to the NHL’s COVID-19 rise and they are the team that has played the most amount of games in the league with 33.
Golden Knights forward William Karlsson says his New Year’s resolution is to read more and reduce screen time.
Someone needs to step up on the first-line without Stone and Pacioretty
This one is pretty simple, the Golden Knights will be without two of their top forwards in Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty tonight. This also may be the case for the next swing of games as both are expected to miss a good bit of time. The Golden Knights have been in this situation before, and they need to find a way to win without Stone and Patches once more.
Guys like William Carrier, Mattias Janmark, Keegan Kolesar, and Evgenii Dadonov will be looked at for offensive depth scoring. Expect a big night from whoever gets the go with Chandler Stephenson on the Golden Knight’s new first line.
PROJECTED VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS LINE COMBINATIONS
Mattias Janmark- Chandler Stephenson- Evgenii Dadonov
Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson- Reilly Smith
William Carrier- Nicolas Roy- Keegan Kolesar
Adam Brooks- Nolan Patrick- Michael Amadio
Nicolas Hague- Alex Pietrangelo
Shea Theodore– Zach Whitecloud
Brayden McNabb- Dylan Coghlan
Laurent Brossoit/Logan Thompson
Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
Special Teams: 20.73% Powerplay (12th) and 77.89% Penalty Kill (23rd)
PP1: Smith, Karlsson, Marchessault, Roy, Theodore
PP2: Janmark, Stephenson, Dadonov, Coghlan, Pietrangelo
PK1: Stephenson, Janmark, McNabb, Whitecloud
PK2: Karlsson, Smith, Theodore, Hague
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols
Jack Eichel, Jake Bischoff, Alec Martinez, Brett Howden, Peter DeBoer, Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Robin Lehner.
Ben Hutton, Daniil Miromanov, Jake Leschyshyn, Jonas Rondbjerg.
PROJECTED ANAHEIM DUCKS LINE COMBINATIONS
Vinni Lettieri- Ryan Getzlaf- Troy Terry
Sonny Milano- Isac Lundestrom- Rickard Rakell
Derek Grant- Sam Carrick- Jakob Silfverberg
Nicolas Deslauriers- Jacob Larsson- Buddy Robinson
Cam Fowler- Josh Manson
Hampus Lindholm- Jamie Drysdale
Simon Benoit- Kevin Shattenkirk
John Gibson/Anthony Stolarz
Anaheim Ducks Special Teams
25.56% Powerplay (5th) and 85.88% % Penalty Kill (3rd)
PP1: Rakell, Getzlaf, Milano, Lettieri, Drysdale
PP2: Silverberg, Lundestrom, Terry, Fowler, Shattenkirk
PK1: Getzlaf, Grant, Fowler, Manson
PK2: Lundestrom, Deslauriers, Lindholm, Shattenkirk
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols
Max Jones, Adam Henrique, Maxime Comtois, Sam Steel, Trevor Zegras, Josh Mahurna.
How to Watch/Listen: 3:00 pm on ESPN+ and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.