The Vegas Golden Knights are headed to Canada for the first time in franchise history. At an early 11 a.m. start, Vegas takes on the Ottawa Senators.
Brendan Leipsic has been the most prominent victim of the this lately. He has yet to play on the road trip, his last appearance being against Chicago on Oct. 24.
Shea Theodore and Jon Merrill have been scratched twice. Brad Hunt and Brayden McNabb were scratched against the Rangers.
Leipsic’s offense has been needed. Through his eight games, he has four assists. He has scored all four on even strength. Theodore needs an extended look instead of a one-and-done strategy.
The question is, will we see these healthy scratches get back on the ice? With the last three games, something has to change. And if Leipsic and Theodore do get back in, who comes out? There’s a few lines that shouldn’t be messed with, namely the fourth, but there’s some that could see some change.
The power play hasn’t been great so far this road trip. The Golden Knights are 2-of-11 with a man advantage through three games.
The Knights were 0-for-3 against the Boston Bruins but that’s expected against the fourth best penalty kill in the NHL.
Alex Tuch was a prominent presence in front of the net on the power play against the Islanders .In the Boston game, he was much less noticeable.
There’s a few ways to turn the power play around — rotate guys around the main core of Miller, Hunt and Tuch. Put some better shooters on the wings, guys like David Perron and Jonathan Marchessault instead of Reilly Smith and William Karlsson. Put the other two on the second unit with James Neal, and put Theodore there as well.
Where is James Neal?
Speaking of Neal, he hasn’t shown up since he was kidnapped and replaced by Pennywise. I think he was lured into the storm drain by promises of “down here, you’ll score two ... goals a game.”
After starting off the season looking like a potential Hart candidate, Neal has scored just one goal in the last eight games. That’s less than ideal. His last goal came in the touchdown scored on Colorado, during that four-goal second period.
I’s not like Neal hasn’t been trying — he has eight shots in the last three games. He could use a goal today to get himself going, as well as the Golden Knights.
Can Max Lagace continue to improve?
And on the other end, Lagace looked much better against the Bruins, allowing just two goals. Still, Lagace’s two goals allowed were his best so far in his brief NHL career, and he posted a .929 save percentage.
He’s been building off of each start in the NHL, getting better with every game. His save percentage has jumped from .636 to .865 to .929 in the last three games. With that kind of trajectory, a .960 is within range, if not better.
Can Lagace take the confidence rightfully earned in the Boston game and apply it to Ottawa? If so, the Golden Knights might be the deepest team in net. And they then might have to rely on Dylan Ferguson.
How to watch
TV: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
Radio: Fox Sports Radio 98.9 FM/1340 AM
Puck drop: 11 a.m. PT