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Golden Knights Gameday #45: Road-Trip Finale: Lines, Notes, vs Lightning

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Vegas Golden Knights Tampa Bay Lightning AWAY

The Vegas Golden Knights (25-16-3) will close out their four-game southeastern road trip Saturday night as they play the Tampa Bay Lightning (29-10-5). The Golden Knights look to finish off the tough road trip with a win against the defending back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions.

“This is a tough road trip, it is a long swing with the time change and all that. Not excuses, but things that certainly, when you go into a game, make you think about. Tonight is a good test for us. It’d be nice to end this one with a win, certainly,” said Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

Despite traveling on the road trip, Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez will not play Saturday night. Martinez has been out since mid-November with a facial laceration after he took a skate to the face. Additionally, Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer revealed Saturday morning that the team is going through some “COVID testing stuff.” We will have to wait and see how that affects the Golden Knights lineup during warmups.

Keys to The Game

Re-Establish Chemistry

Even with Martinez out of the lineup, the Golden Knights are sporting the healthiest lineup that they have had all season. Both Max Pacioretty and Reilly Smith returned for the team against the Florida Panthers. Now with an almost fully-healthy lineup, the Golden Knights need to reestablish some of their chemistry on their line combinations.

Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer joked with the media on Friday saying that we need to be patient with players returning.

“Patience and you guys (media members) aren’t two words I would use in a sentence… You don’t miss significant time in this league and then jump back in at the same level you went out at. The league gets faster, the league gets tighter, and no matter how much work you do, you lose that game speed and that game execution,” said DeBoer.

Lines such as the Misfit Line and the top line of Mark Stone, Chandler Stephenson, and Max Pacioretty will only see their chemistry and confidence levels playing with each other increase as the season progresses and everyone plays healthy.

Shots on Vasilevisky

Andrei Vasilevisky is the best goaltender in the entire National Hockey League and it’s not even close. Everyone knows it, even Robin Lehner. The Conn Smythe winning back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion will likely start in net for the Lightning.

The Golden Knights need to simply fire as many shots as possible on the six-foot-three Russian. They have only scored sx goals on this road trip, with two one-goal games.

“Our D-zone zone has been good. We are talking about not giving up too many goals and keeping those games 2-1 and 1-0 games so I think that has been pretty good. We just gotta find a way to create a little bit more offense here,” said Golden Knights forward William Carrier.

No Excuses

The Vegas Golden Knights need a win tonight. My analysis is as simple as that.

As a measuring-stick road trip against four of the toughest teams in the league, there are plenty of excused you can look to for why the Golden Knights have not gone undefeated. Travel, time changes, bad ice, injuries, etc.

But at the end of the day, this Golden Knights team is looking for a long playoff run in the Spring. These games are the ones that build character and momentum for teams and the Golden Knights need to finish the road trip with a win.

They have played well these past three games, but playing well doesn’t win you games. The Golden Knights, who are still first in the Pacific Division yes, are 13th in the overall league standings.

Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations

Max Pacioretty- Chandler Stephenson- Mark Stone

Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson– Reilly Smith

Mattias Janmark- Nicolas Roy- Evgenii Dadonov

William Carrier- Nolan Patrick- Keegan Kolesar

Nicolas Hague- Alex Pietrangelo

Shea Theodore- Zach Whitecloud

Brayden McNabb- Dylan Coghlan

Robin Lehner/Laurent Brossoit

Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams

20% Powerplay (16th) and 78.69% Penalty Kill (19th)

PP1: Roy, Karlsson, Janmark, Marchessault, Theodore

PP2: Stephenson, Dadonov, Patrick, Coghlan, Pietrangelo

PK1: Karlsson, Kolesar, McNabb, Pietrangelo

PK2: Stephenson, Janmark, Hutton, Hague

Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches/Taxi Squad

Jack Eichel (neck), Alec Martinez (face)

Ben Hutton (scratched), Brett Howden (scratched), Michael Amadio (scratched), Jake Leschyshyn (scratched), Daniil Miromanov (scratched), Jonas Rondbjerg (scratched), Logan Thompson (scratched)

Projected Tampa Bay Lightning Line Combinations

Ondrej Palat- Brayden Point- Anthony Cirelli

Alex Killorn- Steven Stamkos- Mathieu Joseph

Patrick Maroon- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare- Corey Perry

Boris Katchouk- Ross Colton- Taylor Raddysh

Victor Hedman- Jan Rutta

Ryan McDonagh- Mikhail Sergachev

Fredrik Claesson- Cal Foote

Andrei Vasilevskiy/Brian Elliott

Tampa Bay Lightning Special Teams

20.44% Powerplay (14th) and 80.77% Penalty Kill (15th)

PP1- Killorn, Point, Palat, Stamkos, Hedman

PP2- Maroon, Colton, Perry, Cirelli, Sergachev

PK1- Cirelli, Killorn, Foote, Hedman

PK2- Bellemare, Joseph, McDonagh, Sergachev

Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches

Brent Seabrook, Erik Cernak, Zach Bogosian, Nikita Kucherov, Cole Koepke (scratched), Darren Raddysh (scratched)

How to Watch/Listen

4:00 pm on NHL Network 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 covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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