The Vegas Golden Knights continue the road trip against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Golden Knights and coach Bruce Cassidy were critical of their puck management after Saturday’s overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Can they clean it up today?
Betting line: STN Sports has the Golden Knights as -115 with an over/under of 6.5. The public favors the Golden Knights at 66% per Covers.com.
About the Golden Knights (13-3-2, 28 points): It has not been the best road trip, but it has not been that bad of a road trip. The Golden Knights are not going to go 98-0 and there are going to be pockets of bad hockey. Every team goes through this. The Golden Knights have earned three of a possible six points on a road trip where five total points earned would be fine.
The Golden Knights are pretty close to full health, Nicolas Hague remains out. Pavel Dorofeyev was out for Saturday’s game and unknown if he will be in Sunday’s lineup.
About the Penguins ( 8-8-0, 16 points): Like the Golden Knights, the Penguins had a Saturday game and fell 4-2 in Carolina to the Hurricanes. Sidney Crosby leads the Penguins with 22 points (12 goals). The Penguins made the biggest offseason splash by trading for Erik Karlsson who has 17 points (5 goals).
Golden Knights fans were sad to see Reilly Smith traded to Pittsburgh in the offseason. Smith has found himself on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Radim Zohorna and has 12 points (6 goals).
Goaltender Tristan Jarry started Saturday in Carolina with Magnus Hellberg serving as the backup. Jarry is 6-7-0 with a 2.60 GA/G and .910 SV%. Hellberg is 1-0 with a 2.50 GA/G and .922 SV%.
Golden Knights to watch: Ivan Barbashev should have no trouble getting up for this game. Jack Eichel turned the puck over which set up the overtime winner for the Flyers yesterday, expect Eichel to want to erase yesterday’s memory with a big game. Jonathan Marchessault felt the Golden Knights should have won yesterday, expect Marchessault to make sure the Golden Knights win today. Chandler Stephenson got ejected for a cross checking major yesterday and will look to bounce back today.
Key storylines: The trade was not Smith for Barbashev. But the trade was Smith for Barbashev. General manager Kelly McCrimmon opted to trade Smith to Pittsburgh during the offseason and offered Barbashev an extension for the same AAV as Smith. Barbashev and Smith will have plenty of juice for today’s game.
Fatigue will play a part in today’s game. Expect both teams to have fast starts. The team who manages the fatigue best will win. The Golden Knights may try and simplify things in an effort to create better puck management.
Marchessault mentioned that the Golden Knights needed to be better in the neutral zone after yesterday’s loss. Do not expect the Golden Knights to force plays through the neutral zone. There may be a little more dump and chase instead of attacking off the rush for the Golden Knights.
Time: 3:00 p.m. PST.
TV: Scripps Sports
Radio: FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340