The Vegas Golden Knights (29-16-2, 60 points) will make their debut at Mullett Arena Sunday afternoon as they play the Arizona Coyotes (14-27-5, 33 points) in the third and final game of their season series. The VGK are coming off a much-needed 6-2 win over the Washington Capitals, which snapped their season-high three-game losing streak. The Coyotes are struggling, having gone 1-11-0 in their last 12 games.
Former Coyotes Phil Kessel and Adin Hill will make their returns to the Coyotes. Hill is expected to start after Logan Thompson started the first game of the back-to-back against the Capitals. Both teams, in fact, are coming off a back-to-back as the Coyotes lost to the Dallas Stars 4-0 Saturday night.
Brett Howden, Shea Theodore, and Zach Whitecloud are all traveling with the Golden Knights on their current road trip, which will take them into their All-Star break and bye week. The VGK do not play at home again until Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12, against the Anaheim Ducks.
What to Watch For
Given that this is a special game for Phil Kessel, being his reunion game and all, I guarantee you he finds the scoresheet tonight. The 35-year-old forward has not had a strong season with the Golden Knights, but he has risen to the occasion in games that have special significance to him. See both his milestone-tying milestone-passing, and 1,000th straight games, as well as a game against his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Kessel played three seasons with the Coyotes playing in 208 total games and scoring 42 goals, 91 assists, and 133 points.
The Golden Knights will get a taste of the made-for-college ice arena that is Mullett Arena tonight. With a stadium that holds just 5,000 people and a unique environment, given the Coyotes' financial troubles, we'll see if it has an impact on the team's performance.
Logan Thompson is one of just six goaltenders in the NHL to catch right-handed. But the Golden Knights could play against another tonight in Karel Vejmelka. It sounds silly, as all that has changed is the handiness of a goalie, but it can make it that much more difficult on opposing shooters.
"It's weird, you grow up doing the same thing, and then all of a sudden there's kind of a plot twist and some of the openings there. It's the opposite, so it's there was a change for me for sure. I don't think I've ever really faced one of these," said Golden Knights forward Paul Cotter.
Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations
Chandler Stephenson- Jack Eichel- Michael Amadio
Reilly Smith- William Karlsson- Jonathan Marchessault
Jonas Rondbjerg- Byron Froese- Phil Kessel
Paul Cotter- Nicolas Roy- Keegan Kolesar
Nicolas Hague- Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb- Kaedan Korczak
Alec Martinez- Ben Hutton
Adin Hill/Logan Thompson
Golden Knights Special Teams
PP1: Stephenson, Marchessault, Smith, Eichel, Pietrangelo
PP2: Cotter, Karlsson, Kessel, Roy, Hutton
PK1: Karlsson, Smith, McNabb, Pietrangelo
PK2: Stephenson, Roy, Hague, Hutton
Shea Weber, Nolan Patrick, Robin Lehner/Mark Stone (c), Will Carrier, Brett Howden, Pavel Dorofeyev, Shea Theodore, Zach Whitecloud, Daniil Miromanov
Projected Coyotes Line Combinations
Clayton Keller- Barrett Hayton- Nick Schmaltz
Jack McBain- Nick Bjugstad- Dylan Guenther
Nick Ritchie- Travis Boyd- Christian Fisher
Josh Brown- Michael Carcone- Zack Kassian
Jakob Chychrun- Shayne Gostisbehere
Juuso Valimaki- Troy Stetcher
Patrik Nemeth- JJ Moser
Karel Vejmelka/Connor Ingram
Coyotes Special Teams
PP1- Hayton, Schmaltz, Keller, Gostisbehere, Chychrun
PP2- Ritchie, Boyd, Fischer, Valimaki, Brown
PK1- Bjugstad, McBain, Moser, Brown
PK2- Hayton, Fisher, Nemeth, Stetcher
Andrew Ladd, Liam O'Brien, Matias Maccelli, Lawson Crouse
How to Watch/Listen
5:00 p.m. on AT&T Sportsnet, ESPN+ and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.