The Vegas Golden Knights (29-18-4) will play what will likely be their last ever game at Gila River Arena Friday night against the Arizona Coyotes (13-34-4) at 6:30 pm. The Coyotes are confirmed to be relocating to play in Arizona State University’s new multi-purpose arena as soon as next season.
This is one of six matchups on the slate for the NHL Friday night. Check on the NHL odds right here.
For the Coyotes the move to ASU is essentially the only major news story to come from the franchise all season. They are rebuilding once more and are in the basement of the NHL’s standings. With only eight players on their active roster signed past this season, the Coyotes will be sellers at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline.
The Coyotes are led in scoring by All-Star Clayton Keller who has 45 points in 51 games. Two-time Stanley Cup Champion Phil Kessel has six goals and 27 assists this season for 33 points in 51 games.
In terms of lineup changes, the Golden Knights are expected to welcome back Zach Whitecloud into the lineup after he missed a handful of games due to a broken bone in his foot. Head coach Peter DeBoer said Thursday that a couple of guys were out with the flu. Based on practice lines this player is likely Jonathan Marchessault. Jake Leschyshyn has been recalled from the Henderson Silver Knights.
Keys to the Game
500 Wins for Peter DeBoer
Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer is currently sitting at 499 career wins. Only 27 coaches in NHL history have reached the 500-win mark and with a win tonight DeBoer could join the likes of Scotty Bowman and Al Arbour.
Speaking of DeBoer, his newly formed line combinations will get a test against the Coyotes. The Misfit Line has been broken up once more and Ben Hutton is playing on the top D-pair.
The Schedule is Heating Up
Now that the month of rescheduling games due to COVID and the NHL not going to the Olympics is over, we can get back to a normal schedule. The Golden Knights play 16 games in 31 days, essentially a game every other day, and getting into a solid rhythm is crucial.
The rest is much appreciated but we are now in the stretch run and the push to the playoffs for the season. For the Golden Knights, every game matters, even if it is against the 13-win Arizona Coyotes.
Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations
Max Pacioretty- Jack Eichel- Chandler Stephenson
Evgenii Dadonov- William Karlsson- Reilly Smith
Mattias Janmark- Nicolas Roy- Michael Amadio
William Carrier- Brett Howden- Keegan Kolesar
Ben Hutton- Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb- Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague- Zach Whitecloud
Laurent Brossoit/Logan Thompson
Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
19.08% Powerplay (21st) and 79.43% Penalty Kill (16th)
PP1: Pacioretty, Dadonov, Stephenson, Eichel, Theodore
PP2: Roy, Smith, Karlsson, Janmark, Pietrangelo
PK1: Karlsson, Smith, McNabb, Pietrangelo
PK2: Roy, Janmark, Hague, Whitecloud
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches/Taxi Squad
Mark Stone (back), Robin Lehner (upper-body), Alec Martinez (face), Nolan Patrick (head), Michael Amadio (scratched), Jonathan Marchessault (flu), Dylan Coghlan (scratched)
Projected Arizona Coyotes Line Combinations
Clayton Keller- Travis Boyd- Nick Schmaltz
Lawson Crouse- Alex Galchenyuk- Phil Kessel
Antoine Roussel- Barrett Hayton- Loui Eriksson
Liam O’Brien- Riley Nash- Christian Fischer
Shayne Gostisbehere- Dysin Mayo
Janis Moser- Anton Stralman
Vladislav Kolyachonok- Jakob Chychrun
Karel Vejmelka/Scott Wedgewood
Arizona Coyotes Special Teams
11.94% Powerplay (32nd) and 73.21% Penalty Kill (31st)
PP1- Crouse, Schmaltz, Kessel, Keller, Gostisbehere
PP2- Eriksson, Boyd, Galchenyuk, Moser, Chychyrn
PK1- Boyd, Keller, Mayo, Stralman
PK2- Crouse, Eriksson, Moser, Chychryn
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches
Conor Timmins, Jay Beagle, Dmitri Jaskin, Johan Larsson, Andrew Ladd
How to Watch/Listen
6:30 pm on At&t Sportsnet, ESPN+ and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.