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Golden Knights Gameday 75: Desperation Mode: Lines, Notes vs Flames

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Vegas Golden Knights Calgary Flames AWAY

The Vegas Golden Knights (40-29-5, 85 points) are in desperation mode for two points against the Calgary Flames (45-19-9, 99 points) Thursday night.

The VGK are now three points back of both the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars for the third spot in the Pacific Division standings and Wild Card race respectively

Here’s your updated Western Conference Playoff Picture. The Stars, Predators, Oilers, and Canucks all play tonight. The Kings do not play tonight and only have six games remaining on the season.

The Calgary Flames are on the opposite spectrum when it comes to playoff positioning. They can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Golden Knights tonight. Johnny Gaudreau leads their team in scoring with 101 points in 73 games. For comparison’s sake, Jonathan Marchessault leads the VGK with 60.

Keys to the Game

Play Hungry

This three-game road trip could be it for the Golden Knights if they drop these Alberta games. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the Golden Knights are in desperation mode to make the playoffs. They need to play hungry as the Vancouver Canucks did against them on Tuesday.

No Time To Nurture

The Golden Knights currently have seven players on LTIR all so that they can have Mark Stone and his $9.5 million cap hit in the lineup for this final playoff push. I understand that coming back from injury is tough, and it takes time to fully recover. But the Golden Knights are in do-or-die mode right now and need the best out of all of their players. There is no time for these players to nurture their injuries.

Stone admitted he was not himself against the Canucks on Tuesday.

“I’m not sure anything came back quick. I can’t say I felt very good. The legs really weren’t there but I was just trying to do what I could to help the team. Hopefully, I feel a little bit better in the next one.”

A Go-To Goalie

Whoever ends up getting the start against the Flames needs to be more than exceptional for the Golden Knights. Robin Lehner has struggled in his four games since returning from a month-long injury. Logan Thompson has not played since his eight-straight starts when both Lehner and Laurent Brossoit were out.

With the clock ticking on the season, the Golden Knights need to keep both of their goalies on a short leash as a struggling goaltender this late into the season will not get you into the playoffs.

Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations

Evgenii Dadonov- Jack Eichel- Nicolas Roy

Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson- Michael Amadio

Max Pacioretty- Chandler Stephenson- Mark Stone

Mattias Janmark- Jake Leschyshyn- Keegan Kolesar

Brayden McNabb- Shea Theodore

Ben Hutton- Alex Pietrangelo

Alec Martinez- Zach Whitecloud

Robin Lehner/Logan Thompson

Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams

17.53% Powerplay (24th) and 77.44% Penalty Kill (21st)

PP1: Pacioretty, Eichel, Stone Dadonov, Theodore

PP2: Roy, Karlsson, Marchessault, Stephenson, Pietrangelo

PK1: Karlsson, Janmark, McNabb, Pietrangelo

PK2: Stephenson, Roy, Martinez, Whitecloud

Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches/Taxi Squad

Reilly Smith (knee), Laurent Brossoit (undisclosed), Nicolas Hague (lower-body), Brett Howden (upper-body), William Carrier (lower-body), Nolan Patrick (undisclosed), Dylan Coghlan (scratched), Jonas Rondbjerg (scratched)

Projected Calgary Flames Line Combinations

Johnny Gaudreau- Elias Lindholm- Matthew Tkachuk

Andrew Mangiapane- Mikael Backlund- Tyler Toffoli

Dillon Dube- Calle Jarnkrok- Blake Coleman

Milan Lucic- Trevor Lewis- Brett Ritchie

Noah Hanifin- Rasmus Andersson

Connor Mackey- Chris Tanev

Nikita Zadorov- Erik Gudbranson

Jacob Markstrom/Daniel Vladar

Calgary Flames Special Teams

23.56% Powerplay (8th) and 83.94% Penalty Kill (5th)

PP1- Toffoli, Lindholm, Tkachuk, Gaudreau, Andersson

PP2- Dube, Backlund, Coleman, Mangiapane, Zadorov

PK1- Backlund, Lindholm, Zadorov, Tanev

PK2- Lewis, Toffoli, Hanifin, Andersson

Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches

Sean Monahan, Oliver Kylington, Michael Stone

How to Watch/Listen

6:00 pm on At&t Sportsnet, ESPN+, and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now and writes for the Boulder City Review-Journal. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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