The Vegas Golden Knights (29-17-3, 61 points) are expected to welcome back two players into their lineup Friday afternoon against the New York Rangers (26-14-8, 60 points). Forward Will Carrier is confirmed to play, and defensemen Shea Theodore is also expected to make a return. This comes just one game after Brett Howden returned against the New Jersey Devils. Additionally, a healthy Pavel Dorofeyev has been sent back to the AHL.
This is the second and final matchup of the regular season between these two teams. The Rangers whooped the VGK on Dec. 7th, 5-1 in one of their worst games of the season. The Golden Knights are 6-3-0 all-time against the Rangers.
Tonight begins a back-to-back for the Golden Knights as they round out their pre-All-Star Break schedule. They will play the New York Islanders on Saturday, so expect a potential goaltending flip to rest both Logan Thompson and Adin Hill. Hill is expected to start against the Rangers.
What To Watch For
The return of Howden, Carrier, and Theodore couldn't have come at a better time for the struggling Golden Knights, who are 1-4-1 in their last six games. Since Theodore's injury in a Dec. 7th game against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Golden Knights have gone 9-9-2 and are being pressured in the Pacific Division standings by teams like the Seattle Kraken and Los Angeles Kings.
Having a smark puck-moving defensemen in Theodore back in the lineup will help the team in their breakouts, and also with some offense from the blue line. A heart and sole player having a career year, Carrier will help the Golden Knight's secondary scoring and give them a motivation boost.
Jake n' Bake
Former Golden Knight Jake Leschyshyn will play his first game against his former team tonight. Leschyshyn was claimed off waivers on Jan. 11th by the Rangers, who were looking for additional forward depth. So far, Leschyshyn has played in five games for the Rangers.
The former 2017 second-round pick by the VGK is still looking for his first point this season, and there isn't a more fitting time for it than against his former team in their last meeting of the season.
Tied for the franchise lead in games played, both William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault will play their 400th career games with the Golden Knights tonight against the Rangers. Expect a fitting performance from these two, who along with Reilly Smith, have been carrying the team's offense lately.
As time goes on, the Misfits, particularly these two, continue to etch their names in the all-time Golden Knights historical stat sheets.
Projected Golden Knights Line Combinations
Paul Cotter- Jack Eichel- Michael Amadio
Reilly Smith- William Karlsson- Jonathan Marchessault
Will Carrier- Chandler Stephenson- Phil Kessel
Brett Howden- Nicolas Roy- Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez- Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb- Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague- Ben Hutton
Adin Hill/Logan Thompson
Shea Weber, Nolan Patrick, Robin Lehner/Mark Stone (c), Zach Whitecloud, Daniil Miromanov/Kaedan Korczak, Byron Froese
Golden Knights Special Teams
PP1: Stephenson, Marchessault, Smith, Eichel, Pietrangelo
PP2: Cotter, Karlsson, Kessel, Roy, Theodore
PK1: Karlsson, Smith, McNabb, Pietrangelo
PK2: Stephenson, Roy, Hague, Martinez
Shea Weber, Nolan Patrick, Robin Lehner/Mark Stone (c), Zach Whitecloud, Daniil Miromanov
Projected Rangers Line Combinations
Artemi Panarin- Mika Zibanejad- Jimmy Vesey
Chris Kreider- Vincent Trocheck- Barclay Goodrow
Alexis Lafreniere- Filip Chytil- Kaapo Kakko
Will Cuylle- Jake Leschyshyn- Julien Gauther
Ryan Lindgren- Adam Fox
K'Andre Miller- Jacob Trouba (c)
Ben Harpur- Braden Schnedier
Igor Shesterkin/Jaroslav Halak
Rangers Special Teams
PP1- Kreider, Trocheck, Panarin, Zibanejad, Fox
PP2- Lafreniere, Chytil, Kakkp, Trouba, Miller
PK1- Zibanejas, Kreider, Miller, Trouba
PK2- Goodrow, Vesey, Lindgren, Fox
Sammy Blais, Vitali Kravtsov, Libor Hajek
How to Watch/Listen
4:00 p.m. on AT&T Sportsnet, ESPN+ and Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio.