The Vegas Golden Knights (26-16-3) will play their last game before the NHL’s 2022 All-Star break which will give the team five days off from game actions. The Golden Knights take on the Buffalo Sabres (14-23-7) Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena. Four former Golden Knights will make their return to T-Mobile in Peyton Krebs, Alex Tuch, Cody Eakin, and Colin Miller. Most notably, Tuch and Krebs were dealt to the Sabres in the Jack Eichel blockbuster trade in early November.
Unfortunately, Eichel will not play against his former team, and neither will Alec Martinez, Zach Whitecloud, and potentially Nicolas Hague. Dylan Coghlan and Chandler Stephenson are also in COVID-19 protocols for the Golden Knights. Just when it looked like the team was about to turn the corner with injuries, they have once again been hit with bad luck.
For the Sabres, they are once again struggling, having less than 15 wins on the season, and are well out of a playoff spot. They are led in scoring by currently injured Tage Thompson who has 29 points in 40 games played. For comparison’s sake, Thompson would be tied for third on the Golden Knights scoring list. Former Golden Knight Tuch has fit in quite nicely with his hometown team with 12 points in 12 games played. Krebs has also scored his first three NHL goals.
Tuesday night at The Foretress will also be Lunar New Year celebration night.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 1, 2022
Keys to the Game
Play a Simple Defensive Game With Everyone Hurt
If Hague does not end up playing, the Golden Knights will be without four of their regular six defensemen with the only two regulars being superstars Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore. I guess if you had to pick these would be the two defensemen you would want to keep if you had to erase two-thirds of your defense. But the Golden Knights would much rather have their defense back.
The defensive game has been sharp for the Golden Knights as of late. The team has done a good job with breakout passes, clogging up the neutral zone, and generating rush chances for the forwards. But with more injuries on the back end, the Golden Knights will need to simplify their game with guys like Miromanov and Hutton playing increased minutes.
Don’t Play Down to the Sabres Level
The Sabres and Golden Knights are simply on two opposite sides of the spectrum in the NHL currently. The Golden Knights are looking for their first Stanley Cup in franchise history whereas the Sabres are once again rebuilding. For the Golden Knights, even with their depleted roster, this should be a victory for the Golden Knights on paper.
But no games are gimmes in the NHL and the Golden Knights will need to come out and execute from the first drop of the puck to the final buzzer. Maybe this is the night the Golden Knights pull a Florida Panthers and just torch a team 7-0.
Leave it All Out on the Ice- Another Break is Coming
With the All-Star Weekend approaching and the NHL’s original plan to go to the 2022 Winter Olympics still having an impact on the schedule, the Golden Knights will have a lot of time off in February. We saw the Golden Knights go through this in late December and early January as games were getting rescheduled and the Golden Knights once again need to take advantage of it.
Against an inferior opponent, the Golden Knights need to come out and beat the Sabres on home ice to welcome in the 2022 NHL All-Star Weekend which the team and the city of Las Vegas will host.
Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations
Max Pacioretty- Nolan Patrick – Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson– Reilly Smith
Mattias Janmark- Nicolas Roy- Evgenii Dadonov
William Carrier- Brett Howden- Keegan Kolesar
Brayden McNabb- Alex Pietrangelo
Shea Theodore- Daniil Miromanov
Ben Hutton- Kaeden Korczak
Robin Lehner/Laurent Brossoit
Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
19.83% Powerplay (16th) and 79.20% Penalty Kill (19th)
PP1: Patrick, Stone, Pacioretty, Dadonov, Theodore
PP2: Marchessault, Karlsson, Smith, Janmark, Pietrangelo
PK1: Karlsson, Smith, McNabb, Pietrangelo
PK2: Roy, Janmark, Hutton, Theodore
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches/Taxi Squad
Jack Eichel (neck), Alec Martinez (face), Zach Whitecloud (back), Nicolas Hague (day-to-day), Chandler Stephenson (COVID), Dylan Coghlan (COVID)
Ben Hutton (scratched), Michael Amadio (scratched), Daniil Miromanov (scratched)
Projected Buffalo Sabres Line Combinations
Peyton Krebs- Casey Mittelstadt- Alex Tuch
Jeff Skinner- Dylan Cozens- Kyle Okposo
Anders Bjork- Cody Eakin- Victor Olofsson
Robert Hagg- Mark Jankowski- John Hayden
Rasmus Dahlin- Henri Jokiharju
Mattias Samuelsson- Casey Fitzgerald
Jacob Bryson- Mark Pysyk
Craig Anderson/Dustin Tokarski
Buffalo Sabres Special Teams
19.67% Powerplay (17th) and 75.21% Penalty Kill (26th)
PP1- Tuch, Krebs, Skinner, Mittelstadt, Dahlin
PP2- Eakin, Cozens, Okposo, Olofsson, Jokiharju
PK1- Eakin, Okposo, Fitzgerald, Jokiharju
PK2- Jankowski, Tuch, Hagg, Pysyk
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches
Jack Quinn, Colin Miller, Vinnie Hinostroza, Drake Caggiula, Zemgus Girgensons, Tage Thompson, Rasmus Asplund (COVID)
How to Watch/Listen
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