The Vegas Golden Knights (36-28-4, 76 points) end a three-game break from game action to play the NHL’s other newest expansion team in the Seattle Kraken (21-39-6, 48 points) Wednesday night. The Golden Knights and Kraken will play somewhat of a mini playoff series this week with two games in three nights both at Climate Pledge Arena.
Brayden McNabb will likely return to the Golden Knights as he has joined the team in practice in a full-contact jersey. Robin Lehner was also present in the VGK’s latest practice. He took a shot from Jack Eichel in the wrong place and was shaken up. Peter DeBoer confirmed that Lehner’s shoulder is fine.
Derrick Pouliot will get to play against his former team in the Golden Knights. He was claimed off waivers by the Kraken on Trade Deadline Day and is the only player so far in NHL history who has played for both the newest teams in the NHL.
Keys to the Game
This is only the second meeting all-time between the Kraken and the Golden Knights. The last time these two teams met was in game one of the regular season so a lot has changed since. Adjusting quickly to the Kraken’s style of play, shutting down their top players, and knowing their weaknesses will determine if the Golden Knights can defeat their expansion team brother.
With the Golden Knights playing the Kraken two times this week, both on the road, this gives the VGK a great opportunity to take notes on a team that they will likely not see in the playoffs any time soon.
As one of the worst teams in the league, the Seattle Kraken have both a powerplay and penalty kill that are at the bottom of the NHL. The Golden Knights scoring on the powerplay needs to take advantage of this and get on the powerplay as much as possible and score. Maybe try some things shorthanded too.
Simple as that.
A Subtle Reminder
Our last key of the game is less of a key and more of a reminder. The Vegas Golden Knights will play in their 69th (nice) game of the season.
The Dallas Stars, who are already currently ahead of the Golden Knights in the battle for the last Wild Card spot in the playoffs, have three games at hand. These two matchups against an infant Kraken team are crucial and the VGK need all four points.
Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations
Evgenii Dadonov- Jack Eichel- Chandler Stephenson
Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson- Michael Amadio
Mattias Janamrk- Nicolas Roy- Keegan Kolesar
Jonas Rondbjerg- Jake Leschyshyn
Ben Hutton- Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb- Shea Theodore
Alec Martinez- Zach Whitecloud/Dylan Coghlan
Logan Thompson/Robin Lehner
Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
19.10% Powerplay (22nd) and 78.57% Penalty Kill (17th)
PP1: Dadonov, Stephenson, Marchessault, Theodore, Eichel
PP2: Janmark, Karlsson, Roy, Coghlan, Pietrangelo
PK1: Karlsson, Janmark, Hutton, Pietrangelo
PK2: Stephenson, Roy, Martinez, Whitecloud
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches/Taxi Squad
Mark Stone (back), Max Pacioretty (undisclosed), Reilly Smith (knee), Laurent Brossoit (undisclosed), Nicolas Hague (lower-body), Brett Howden (upper-body), William Carrier (lower-body), Nolan Patrick (undisclosed)
Daniil Miromanov (scratched), Pavel Dorofeyev (scratched)
Projected Seattle Kraken Line Combinations
Ryan Donato- Alexander Wennberg- Jordan Eberle
Victor Rask- Yanni Gourde- Karson Kuhlman
Morgan Geekie- Jared McCann- Kole Lind
Daniel Sprong- Riley Sheahan- Joonas Donskoi
Vince Dunn- Adam Larsson
Carson Soucy- Jamie Oleksiak
Derrick Pouliot- William Borgen
Chris Driedger/Phillip Grubauer
Seattle Kraken Special Teams
15% Powerplay (29th) and 73.30% Penalty Kill (30th)
PP1- Donato, Gourde, Eberle, McCann, Dunn
PP2- Wennberg, Rask, Sprong, Geekie, Soucy
PK1- Sheahan, Donskoi, Soucy, Oleksiak
PK2- Gourde, Kuhlman, Larsson, Borgen
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches
Brandon Tanev, Joonas Donskoi, Jaden Schwartz, Haydn Fleury
How to Watch/Listen
7:22 pm on TNT, and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.