An earlier Black Friday night matchup between the Vegas Golden Knights (16-4-1, 33 points) and Seattle Kraken (11-5-3, 25 points) will be played at T-Mobile Arena on Friday starting at 5:00 p.m.
This is the second of four meetings between the NHL’s two most recent expansion teams. After tonight’s game, they will not meet again until the last two games of the regular season.
The Golden Knights are coming off their first game of a current three-game homestand. They defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Wednesday, with both Will Karlsson and Will Carrier scoring beauty goals.
The Kraken are having a surprisingly strong season and are currently second in the Pacific. They only have one regulation loss in their last ten games and are also on a three-game win streak. Andre Burakovsky leads the team in scoring with 19 points in 18 games played.
What to Watch For
The Pacific Division is perhaps the hardest division to predict in the NHL, as they are so many teams that could either win the division or plummet at the same time. The Golden Knights look to be back as a Stanley Cup Playoff team but don’t pen them in yet, as they were in a similar position last season.
For the Kraken, they may be turning the corner into the playoffs sooner than expected. As mentioned before, they currently occupy the second playoff spot in the Pacific. They have a solid lineup with a lot of Misfits of their own, from Jordan Eberle to Jared McCann.
Perhaps this is a playoff team overall, and maybe the Golden Knights will see them in the Spring.
Third Line Woes
The Golden Knights are still struggling to find a reliable third line. Paul Cotter, Phil Kessel, and Michael Amadio are the current workforce for the line. Against the Senators Wednesday, they had their ice time cut down once more and rarely saw a defensive zone start.
Logan Thompson and Matty Beniers are the two frontrunners for the Calder Memorial Trophy, the quarter-mark of the season. The Calder Trophy celebrates the NHL’s rookie of the year. Despite playing last season, Thompson is still eligible for the award as he played less than 25 games in 2021-22.
As the team’s new starter with Robin Lehner out for the season, Thompson is 11-3-0 on the season with a .925 save percentage and a 2.30 goals-against-average. Beniers has six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 19 games played.
Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations
Chandler Stephenson- Jack Eichel– Mark Stone (c)
Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson– Reilly Smith
Paul Cotter- Michael Amadio- Phil Kessel
William Carrier- Brett Howden- Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez- Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb- Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague- Zach Whitecloud
Logan Thompson/Adin Hill
Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
PP1: Stone, Eichel, Stephenson, Marchessault, Pietrangelo
PP2: Howden, Karlsson, Smith, Kessel, Theodore
PK1: Karlsson, Smith, McNabb, Pietrangelo
PK2: Stephenson, Stone, Martinez, Whitecloud
Nicolas Roy/Jake Leschyshyn, Ben Hutton
Projected Kraken Line Combinations
Jaden Schwartz- Alex Wennberg- Andre Burakovsky
Jared McCann- Matty Beniers- Jordan Eberle
Brandon Tanev- Yanni Gourde- Oliver Bjorkstrand
Ryan Donato- Morgan Geekie- Daniel Sprong
Adam Larsson- Vince Dunn
Jamie Oleksiak- Justin Schultz
Carson Soucy- Will Borgen
Philipp Grubauer/Martin Jones
Kraken Special Teams
PP1- Eberle, McCann, Schwartz, Dunn, Burakovsky
PP2- Wennberg, Beniers, Bjorkstrond, Sprong, Schultz
PK1- Wennberg, Tanev, Soucy, Borgen
PK2- Gourde, Schwartz, Larsson, Oleksiak
Chris Driedger, Joonas Donskoi/Karson Kuhlman, Cale Fleury
How to Watch/Listen
5:00 p.m. on AT&T Sportsnet, ESPN+, and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.