2 things to watch for as the Golden Knights host the Lightning

For the first time in history, Vegas will play Tampa Bay in a battle of two top teams.

Tonight’s game will be a battle between two top teams currently playing their best hockey of the year. The Vegas Golden Knights enter the matchup sitting at second in the Pacific Division with a record of 21-9-2. The Tampa Bay Lightning are sitting at first place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 24-6-2.

The Golden Knights have won two straight and have recorded points in seven consecutive games, going 6-0-1 during that span. Vegas is coming off a huge 5-2 win against the Florida Panthers Sunday night where a couple familiar faces made the difference.

Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith, both former Panthers, combined for two goals and three assists in the win and dominated their old team. James Neal also recorded his team-leading 16th goal of the year and Malcolm Subban made 16 saves on 18 shots.

The Golden Knights have scored 26 goals on their current seven-game point streak and have been supported on the backend from one of the best goaltending duos in the NHL in Marc-Andre Fleury and Subban.

The Lightning, on the other hand, are currently on a seven-game winning streak and have won eight out of their last nine games.

Tampa is coming off a clutch 6-5 win against the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night where Gabriel Landeskog, despite having a five-point game, still couldn’t push his team past the Bolts.

Here is what to watch for in tonight’s contest:

Will the Golden Knights find a way to stop Tampa’s elite offense?

The Lightning are currently the best team in the NHL and their current winning streak proves that. Tampa has scored 33 goals over the stretch thanks to two of the NHL’s top scoreres, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov.

A big way the Golden Knights can take control of this game is to stay out of the penalty box. The Lightning currently own the best power play in the league with a 27.4 conversion percentage and most of their offense is created through that. If Vegas can stay out of the box, tonight will be an interesting contest.

The Golden Knights will look to the hot Neal and Smith to lead the way ahead of Fleury, who will be in the crease.

Will Vegas’ defense stay hot and shut down the best offense in the league?

The Golden Knights have cleaned up their early season defensive struggles as of late and are becoming one of the NHL’s better bluelines. On their seven-game point streak, Vegas has only allowed 17 goals. With Fleury back, that number should decrease drastically.

If Fleury get’s the start tonight, he will have his work cut out with the top two leading scorers in the league trying to extend their winning streak to eight straight games.

How to watch

Time: 7 p.m. PT

Watch: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, NHL.TV

Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM