The Vegas Golden Knights (28-18-4) need a win Sunday afternoon against the San Jose Sharks (22-21-5). There is really no other way to slice it. The Golden Knights have lost three-straight games and are sinking in the Pacific Division Standings. They were shutout against the Flames and Avalanche and set a franchise record of going 147:57 without scoring a goal.
The Golden Knight’s defense has been a mess as of late and guys like Evgenii Dadonov, Chandler Stephenson, Mattias Janmark, and Nicolas Roy have been absent offensively. The Golden Knights have yet to win a game with newly acquired Jack Eichel in their lineup.
In terms of lineup changes none are expected for the Golden Knights. However injured players in Robin Lehner and Zach Whitecloud were at Saturday’s practice. William Karlsson missed Saturday’s practice but it was just a maintenance day. Laurent Brossoit will likely get his third-straight start unless head coach Peter DeBoer wants to give Logan Thompson a shot.
This is the first meeting between the rival Sharks and Golden Knights this season. The Sharks are currently 11 points behind the Golden Knights in the standings but have two games at hand. They are led in scoring by All-Star Timo Meier who has 50 points in 43 games.
Keys to the Game
Slumping Players Need to Score
Not only has scoring been lacking just overall with the Vegas Golden Knights, the team’s depth scoring is practically non-existent. The Eichel and Max Pacioretty on the top line are contributing and so is the Misfit Line. But guys like Stephenson, Dadonov, Janmark, and Roy have been absent on the scoresheet lately.
Stephenson has no points in his last seven games, and Dadonov in his last nine. Roy has no goals in his last ten, and Janmark in his last 13. Alex Pietrangelo has one point in his last ten games.
We saw Pacioretty’s scoring drought end against the Kings. The Golden Knights need more of this with some of their slumping players.
On the Road Again
The Golden Knights have surprisingly been a better road team on this season than at home. They are 14-11-3 at home this season and 14-7-1 on the road. For whatever reason the Golden Knights are playing better on the road and they will look to so the same at the Shark Tank Sunday afternoon.
For an analysis standpoint, the Golden Knights seem to play a much simpler game on the road. With the way that they have been playing as of late this simplified minset might just be what this team needs to get back on track.
A Win for DeBoer
The Golden Knights have been slipping in the standings as of late and are simply not looking like the Stanley Cup contenders that everyone seems to pin them as. With the history of the franchise (see Gerard Gallant) the Golden Knights are no stranger to not tolerating losses from their head coaches.
You have to wonder how much longer this can go on before head coach Peter DeBoer finds himself on the hot seat. This afternoon he will look to get only one win shy of his 500th career win against his former team in the San Jose Sharks.
Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations
Max Pacioretty- Jack Eichel– Chandler Stephenson
Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson– Reilly Smith
Mattias Janmark- Nicolas Roy- Evgenii Dadonov
William Carrier- Brett Howden- Keegan Kolesar
Nicolas Hague- Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb- Shea Theodore
Ben Hutton- Dylan Coghlan
Laurent Brossoit/Logan Thompson
Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
19.53% Powerplay (18th) and 78.99% Penalty Kill (18th)
PP1: Pacioretty, Dadonov, Stephenson, Eichel, Theodore
PP2: Roy, Smith, Karlsson, Marchessault Pietrangelo
PK1: Karlsson, Smith, McNabb, Pietrangelo
PK2: Roy, Janmark, Hague, Theodore
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches/Taxi Squad
Mark Stone (back), Robin Lehner (upper-body), Alec Martinez (face), Zach Whitecloud (foot), Nolan Patrick (head), Michael Amadio (scratched)
Projected San Jose Sharks Line Combinations
Timo Meier- Tomas Hertl- Alexander Barbanov
Noah Gregor- Logan Couture- Jonathan Dahlen
Andrew Cogliano- Nick Bonino- Matthew Nieto
Jeffrey Viel- Lane Pederson- Jonah Gadjovich
Mario Ferraro- Brent Burns
Mac-Edouard Vlasic- Ryan Merkley
Jacob Middleton- Nicolas Meloche
James Reimer/Zachary Sawchenko
San Jose Sharks Special Teams
19.35% Powerplay (20th) and 84.55% Penalty Kill (6th)
PP1- Hertl, Couture, Barbanov, Meier, Burns
PP2- Pederson, Bonino, Gregor, Dahlen, Merkley
PK1- Couture, Cogliano, Ferraro, Burns
PK2- Bonino, Nieto, Middleton, Vlasic
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches
Erik Karlsson, Kevin Labanc, Adin Hill, Nikolai Knyzhov
How to Watch/Listen
5:00 pm on At&t Sportsnet, ESPN+ and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.