The Vegas Golden Knights (33-26-4, 70 points) enter Saturday afternoon’s game against the Los Angeles Kings (34-21-8, 76 points) coming off a massive victory over the Florida Panthers 5-3. The Golden Knights appear to be getting back on track after losing ten of 14 games and going 0-5 on a road trip.
They will have a huge challenge Saturday as they take on the second in the Pacific Division Kings who are having an impressive season. The Kings have taken advantage of the wide-open Pacific Division and are six points ahead of the Golden Knights in the standings.
But the Kings have struggled lately and have a 4-8 record in their last 12 games. This, like the Golden Knights, is mostly due to injury. The Kings are missing key players such as Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown, Andreas Athanasiou, and Viktor Arvidsson.
The Golden Knights are missing Mark Stone, Robin Lehner, Alec Martinez, Reilly Smith, and more. All signs are pointing toward Jack Eichel joining the injured list as well. Against the Panthers, Eichel blocked a shot from Mackenzie Weegar and suffered a hand injury.
Saturday is also the last game before the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline for the Golden Knights. It is unknown what general manager Kelly McCrimmon has up his sleeves but he may look to patch the team’s injuries by adding a goaltender like Semyon Varlamov.
Keys to the Game
Rise to the Occasion
The Golden Knights rose to the occasion Thursday night against the Panthers and earned a hard-fought two points in a gutsy effort against one of the best teams in the NHL. They will look to replicate this success Saturday against a Kings team that they trail in the standings.
This is a huge game no matter how you look at it as the standings are pretty cut and dry as to why these two points are needed for the VGK. Before Thursday’s game against the Panthers, the Golden Knights actually dropped out of a playoff spot briefly as the Dallas Stars passed them.
The VGK needs a win tonight against the Kings to keep them at bay in the standings while also gaining momentum themselves.
Injuries Aren’t Excuses
Having around ten players out for any team will start to wear on you no matter how much you try and ignore it. The Golden Knights are missing a significant handful of key players to their lineup. But they cannot let this dictate the way they play against the Kings, who are also in the same boat.
The Kings, despite their recent struggles, continue to win games even with their injuries.
We saw depth players for the Golden Knights step up against the Panthers with Evgenii Dadonov and Brett Howden both scoring. To beat the Kings with their current lineup, the Golden Knights will need to have this happen again.
Consistency at Home
After a rough 0-5 road trip coming home and hitting the reset button against the Panthers was refreshing for the Golden Knights. It seemed as if the home crowd at T-Mobile Arena played a huge impact in getting the team out of the funk that they were in.
The Golden Knights have struggled at home this season compared to other seasons. But perhaps the VGK can build off the home crowd even more with their eight remaining home games in the stretch run.
Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations
Evgenii Dadonov- William Karlsson- Jonathan Marchessault
William Carrier- Chandler Stephenson- Nicolas Roy
Mattias Janmark- Nolan Patrick- Michael Amadio
Jake Leschyshyn- Brett Howden- Keegan Kolesar
Alex Pietrangelo- Dylan Coghlan
Shea Theodore- Zach Whitecloud
Derrick Pouliot- Daniil Miromanov
Laurent Brossoit/Logan Thompson
Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
18.29% Powerplay (24th) and 78.26% Penalty Kill (20th)
PP1: Dadonov, Stephenson, Marchessault, Karlsson, Theodore
PP2: Carrier, Patrick, Roy, Coghlan, Pietrangelo
PK1: Karlsson, Roy, Pietrangelo, Coghlan
PK2: Stephenson, Leschyshyn, Theodore, Whitecloud
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches/Taxi Squad
Alec Martinez (face), Mark Stone (back), Brayden McNabb (hand), Reilly Smith (knee), Robin Lehner (lower-body), Max Pacioretty (unknown), Nicolas Hague (unknown), Jack Eichel (hand), Ben Hutton (COVID-19 protocols)
Projected Los Angeles Kings Line Combinations
Alex Iafallo- Anze Kopitar- Adrian Kempe
Trevor Moore- Phillip Danault- Arthur Kaliyev
Gabe Vilardi- Quinton Byfield- Rasmus Kupari
Carl Grundstrom- Blake Lizotte- Martin Frk
Olli Maatta- Jordan Spence
Alex Edler- Austin Strand
Jacob Moverare- Sean Durzi
Cal Petersen/Jonathan Quick
Kings Special Teams
15.82% Powerplay (28th) and 74.57% Penalty Kill (27th)
PP1- Iafallo, Kopitar, Danault, Durzi, Kempe
PP2- Vilardi, Byfield, Kaliyev, Frk, Spence
PK1- Kopitar, Iafallo, Maatta, Edler
PK2- Danault, Kempe, Moverare, Durzi
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches
Sean Walker, Andreas Athanasiou, Dustin Brown, Brendan Lemieux, Viktor Arvidsson, Mikey Anderson, Drew Doughty, Matt Roy
How to Watch/Listen
1:00 pm on At&t Sportsnet, ESPN+, and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.