It has been a pretty eventful day for the Vegas Golden Knights in terms of news. Jack Eichel has joined the Golden Knights on the ice and in-person wearing a red no-contact jersey. Head coach Peter DeBoer has also been named the head coach of the Pacific Division for the 2022 NHL-All Star Game. Also, former Golden Knights prospect Lucas Elevens has been claimed on waivers by the Anaheim Ducks.
All that, and the Golden Knights (23-14-1) will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs (22-8-3) tonight at T-Mobile Arena for a 7:00 pm puck drop. The Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic Division but seventh in the entire NHL. They are led in scoring by Auston Matthews who has 22 goals and 14 assists in 30 games played.
“Obviously they are a highly skilled team and a fast team and they are a team that plays hard every night. I think their details are very good. We have to bring our best game and best effort and execute and do all those things right,” said Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud.
No lineup changes are expected for the Golden Knights. Laurent Brossoit and Nicolas Hague remain out with minor injuries. Eichel, Max Pacioretty, and Alec Martinez will not play Tuesday night either. Martinez, who has been recovering from taking a skate to the face has been placed in COVID-19 protocols.
Keys to the Game
Chemistry Is Key
With Eichel’s return not too far down the road, the Golden Knights will need to be prepared for when the superstar center enters the lineup. Even though injuries are something no team wants to willingly go through, often a depleted lineup can bring out the best in some players that typically fly under the radar.
For the Golden Knights who will be expecting Eichel back soon, chemistry in the team’s forward corps is key. The newly formed line of Keegan Kolesar, Nicolas Roy, and Mattias Janmark has been showing great deals of chemistry together as of late and the misfit line
For Peter DeBoer, these next couple of games will play a big part in determining what his line combinations will look like once Eichel makes his Golden Knights debut.
A Long Pause Is On The Horizon
After tonight’s game, the Golden Knights will have a five-day break from game action as two of their games scheduled against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames have been postponed due to COVID-19. They will not play until next Monday when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins and then afterward go on another small break. The schedule for the NHL this season is fluid and ever-changing due to COVID-19.
Getting rest is more important than ever to NHL teams, specifically the Golden Knights who are looking to become fully healthy for time this season. With this being the last game before an almost week-long pause for the Golden Knights, expect the team to leave everything on the line tonight against the Maple Leafs.
Stay Out Of The Box
I may sound like an angry youth league hockey coach when I say this, but staying out of the box is essential for the Golden Knights tonight. The Maple Leafs have the league’s best powerplay in the NHL that operates at a staggering 30.85%. The Maple Leafs also have the fifth-best penalty kill in the NHL with an 83.70% success. rate.
The Golden Knights, who have had their fair share of issues with special teams this season, will need to stay out of the box and also draw penalties against the Maple Leafs. In their last game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Golden Knights had zero powerplay attempts.
PROJECTED VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS LINE COMBINATIONS
Evgenii Dadonov- Chandler Stephenson- Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson– Reilly Smith
Mattias Janmark- Nicolas Roy- Keegan Kolesar
William Carrier- Brett Howden- Nolan Patrick
Brayden McNabb- Alex Pietrangelo
Shea Theodore- Zach Whitecloud
Ben Hutton- Dylan Coghlan
Robin Lehner/Logan Thompson
Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
Special Teams: 18.95% Powerplay (18th) and 77.67% Penalty Kill (24th)
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/Scratches/Taxi Squad
Jack Eichel (neck), Max Pacioretty (wrist), Alec Martinez (face), Laurent Brossoit (unknown), Nicolas Hague (wrist), Michael Amadio (scratched), William Carrier (unknown).
Projected Toronto Maple Leafs Line Combinations
Michael Bunting- Auston Matthews- Ondrej Kase
Alexander Kerfoot- John Tavares- William Nylander
Ilya Mikheyev- David Kampf- Wayne Simmonds
Kyle Clifford- Jason Spezza- Nick Ritchie
Morgan Rielly- TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin- Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin- Travis Dermott
Jack Campbell/Petr Mrazek
Toronto Maple Leafs Special Teams
30.85% Powerplay (1st) and 83.70% % Penalty Kill (5th)
PP1: Tavares, Kase, Nylander, Matthews, Rielly
PP2: Ritchie, Bunting, Spezza, Mikheyev, Sandin
PK1: Kampf, Engvall, Muzzin, Holl
PK2: Kerfoot, Clifford, Brodie, Dermott
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols
Pierre Engvall, Mitch Marner