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Golden Knights Gameday

Golden Knights Gameday #38: FLEURY! FLEURY! FLEURY! Lines, Notes vs Blackhawks

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The Vegas Golden Knights (23-13-1) take on the Chicago Blackhawks (11-18-5) for the first time this season Saturday night. Everyone’s eyes will be on Marc-Andre Fleury, who is making his return to T-Mobile Arena for the first time since being traded to the Blackhawks by the Golden Knights this offseason.

Fleury spent four seasons with the Golden Knights and was the face of the franchise ever since he was selected in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. He led the Golden Knights all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2018 and also won both the Vezina Trophy and Jennings Trophy last season. On top of it all, his bubbly personality has and still does make him one of the most beloved players in the entire National Hockey League.

“Him (Gerard Gallant) and Flower (Fleury) were probably the hearts of our organization hearts of our organization for quite a bit here at the start,” said original Golden Knight Jonathan Marchessault.

Fleury will look down the ice and see his former teammate in Robin Lehner tending the net for the Golden Knights. Lehner was brought in by the Golden Knights in February of 2020 and has since taken over the starting goaltender role with Fleury’s departure. No other lineup changes are expected by the Golden Knights.

Keys to the Game

Push Emotions Aside; It’s Just Another Game

While the return of Fleury will no doubt be a massive event for the fans and Fleury himself alike, at the end of the day there is a game to be played. Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer sees this game as the Vegas Golden Knights versus the Chicago Blackhawks, not Marc-Andre Fleury versus his former team.

For me this isn’t a tennis match against Flower (Marc-Andre Fleury) this is the Golden Knights against the Blackhawks. They’ve got a good team. They are coming off a tough loss and they’re going to be motivated. We’ve got to bring the same mindset and level of respect to the game tonight that we brought the other night because that was one of our most complete games,” said DeBoer. 

The last time Fleury returned to one of his former teams was on February 8th, 2018 when he returned to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins. Fleury and the Golden Knights ended up losing that game with two-time Stanley Cup Champion Phil Kessel scoring the game-winning goal. Perhaps the Golden Knights can take advantage of Fleury’s emotions on his return and get the victory tonight at T-Mobile Arena.

Play Better in Front of Lehner Than CHI Does in Front of Fleury

While Marc-Andre Fleury is no doubt a first-ballot Hockey Hall of Famer things have not been the best for him this season in Chicago. The 37-year old goaltender has just nine wins in 22 games played and is averaging 3.01 goals-against average this season. A big part of this stems from the Chicago Blackhawks’ weak defensive structure this season.

While this battle may be highlighted as Lehner vs Fleury, the reality of the matter is that this is a team game and the Golden Knights have a prime opportunity to play better in front of Lehner to get the win tonight.

PROJECTED VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS LINE COMBINATIONS

Offense

Evgenii Dadonov- Chandler Stephenson- Mark Stone

Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson– Reilly Smith

Mattias Janmark- Nicolas Roy- Keegan Kolesar

William Carrier- Brett Howden- Nolan Patrick

Defense

Brayden McNabb- Alex Pietrangelo

Shea Theodore– Zach Whitecloud

Ben Hutton- Dylan Coghlan

Goalie

Robin Lehner/Logan Thompson

Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
Special Teams: 18.95% Powerplay (17th) and 77.45% Penalty Kill (23rd)

PP1: Roy, Karlsson, Smith, Marchessault, Pietrangelo

PP2: Patrick, Stephenson, Dadonov, Stone, Theodore

PK1: Stephenson, Janmark, McNabb, Whitecloud

PK2: Karlsson, Smith, Hutton, Pietrangelo

Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols

Jack Eichel, Max Pacioretty, Alec Martinez, Laurent Brossoit, Nicolas Hague

Scratches/Taxi Squad

Adam Brooks, Michael Amadio

Projected Chicago Blackhawks Line Combinations

Offense

Dominik Kubalik- Jonathan Toews- Patrick Kane

Alex DeBrincat- Dylan Strome- Brett Connolly

Philipp Kurashev- Kirby Dach- Mackenzie Entwistle

Jujhar Khaira- Henrik Borgstrom- Ryan Carpenter

Defense

Jake McCabe- Seth Jones

Calvin de Haan- Connor Murphy

Caleb Jones- Riley Stillman

Goalie

Marc-Andre Fleury/Arvid Soderblom

Chicago Blackhawks Special Teams
18.92% Powerplay (18th) and 74.76% % Penalty Kill (26th)

PP1: Dach, Strome, Kane, DeBrincat, S. Jones

PP2: Borgstrom, Toews, Kurashev, Kubalik, C. Jones

PK1: Toews, Carpenter, McCabe, Jones

PK2: Dach, Hagel, de Haan, Murphy

Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols

Tyler Johnson, Reese Johnson, Kevin Lankinen

How to Watch/Listen: 7:00 pm on ESPN+ and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.

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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