It appears as if the Vegas Golden Knights (19-7-1, 39 points) will be without their two best players yet again Wednesday night as they take on the New York Rangers (12-10-5, 29 points) at home at 7:00 p.m.
Jack Eichel, who is out with a lower-body injury, has been labeled as day-to-day by head coach Bruce Cassidy.
In response, Jonas Rondbjerg has been recalled from the Henderson Silver Knights for added forward depth. He is expected to play against the Rangers, replacing Michael Amadio in the lineup.
This is the second time we have seen head coach Bruce Cassidy insert a Silver Knights player into the lineup over the traditional extra forward/defenseman.
The other example is Daniil Miromanov going in the lineup over Ben Hutton, which will likely be the case again on Wednesday with Alex Pietrangelo out again due to personal reasons.
It will be Hispanic Heritage Knight at T-Mobile Arena. The Golden Knights will wear special warmup jerseys that will be signed and auctioned off during the game.
Despite being labeled as a Stanley Cup Contender, the Rangers have struggled this season and are currently out of a playoff spot. This has led many to wonder if former Golden Knights/current Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant could be fired.
Another former Golden Knight, Ryan Reaves, will not face his former team Wednesday as he was traded to the Minnesota Wild last month. Only Gallant and Ryan Carpenter are current members of the Rangers scheduled to face off against the VGK.
What to Watch For
The Golden Knights will once again be without Eichel and Pietrangelo. They are going to have to work as a unit to replace their play, as not a single player can replicate what they do for the Golden Knights.
We saw Paul Cotter embrace his role on the Golden Knight's first line last game, scoring two goals. Daniil Miromanov has also been excellent since he was recalled from the Silver Knights.
The VGK simply need more of this and all hands on deck.
Home Ice Record
For whatever reason, the Golden Knights have struggled at home this season. They are elite on the road, with a 12-2-1 record, but carry just a 7-5-0 record at The Fortress.
To truly be labeled as an elite team, the VGK will need to improve on their home ice record. Seven of their next nine games come at home, starting tonight against the Rangers.
The Golden Knights haven't really been involved in any heated exchanges this season. Jonathan Marchessault and Mark Stone have chirped, and Keegan Kolesar has fought. But that has pretty much been it.
Against the Rangers, the Golden Knights will have to watch out for Jacob Trouba, a notorious hitter whom many players in the league have certain opinions on. Most recently, Trouba laid a dirty hit on Andreas Athanasiou, resulting in the following quote.
"This guy is known for hitting high, not really worrying about the puck out there, and almost trying to hurt people. That's his game; that's what he does. He's an $8 million man with zero goals, so he has to figure out how to do something when making that much. If you can't help the team, I guess you try to hurt guys on the other team," said Athanasiou.
Keep an eye on Trouba tonight.
Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations
Paul Cotter- Chandler Stephenson- Mark Stone (c)
Reilly Smith- William Karlsson- Jonathan Marchessault
Jonas Rondbjerg- Nicolas Roy- Phil Kessel
William Carrier- Jake Leschyshyn- Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez- Zach Whitecloud
Brayden McNabb- Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague- Daniil Miromanov
Logan Thompson/Adin Hill
Golden Knights Special Teams
PP1: Stone, Smith, Stephenson, Marchessault, Theodore
PP2: Roy, Karlsson, Carrier, Kessel, Miromanov
PK1: Karlsson, Smith, McNabb, Martinez
PK2: Stephenson, Stone, Hague, Whitecloud
Alex Pietragelo/Jack Eichel, Brett Howden/Ben Hutton, Michael Amadio
Projected Rangers Line Combinations
Chris Kreider- Mika Zibanejad- Jimmy Vesey
Artemi Panarin- Vincent Trochek- Vitali Kravtsov
Alexis Lafreniere- Barclay Goodrow- Kaapo Kakko
Sammy Blais- Jonny Brodzinski- Julien Gauthier
Ryan Lindgren- Adam Fox
K'Andre Miller- Braden Schneider
Libor Hajek- Jacob Trouba (c)
Igor Shesterkin/Jaroslav Halak
Rangers Special Teams
PP1- Kreider, Trochek, Panarin, Zibanejad, Fox
PP2- Blais, Lafreniere, Kakko, Trouba, Kravtsov
PK1- Zibanejad, Kreider, Lindgren, Fox
PK2- Goodrow, Vesey, Miller, Trouba
Filip Chytil, Ryan Carpenter, Ben Harpur
How to Watch/Listen
7:00 p.m. on TNT and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.