The Vegas Golden Knights will take on the Dallas Stars tonight for the third and final time this season with. The Golden Knights enter play sitting second place in the Pacific Division with a record of 18-9-1. Dallas, on the other hand, comes into tonight with a record of 16-12-1 and sitting fourth in the Central Division.
The Golden Knights, after losing three in a row, have won three straight (all in extra time) with an overtime win against Arizona and shutout victories against Anaheim and Nashville. Vegas won a big-time game Friday night against the Predators, in which goaltender Malcolm Subban made a career-high 41 saves and defeated his older brother, P.K.
Forward David Perron is expected to play in his second straight game since returning from injured reserve. He had one shot and an assist last night.
The Stars enter tonight on a two-game losing streak after losses to the Blues and Predators. Dallas, however, has still won five of its past seven
Here’s what to watch for?
If Vegas gets a lead, it needs to maintain it
For the second game in a row, the Golden Knights squandered a 2-0 lead and had to rally late in the third period to tie the game.
If not for the clutch gene that resides in the being of Erik Haula, Vegas is looking at back-to-back losses instead of a three-game winning streak. The Golden Knights have started games strong. They went up 2-0 against the Ducks on Tuesday before Anaheim erupted for a three-goal second.
The one positive Vegas can take away from last night is none of those goals allowed against Nashville were Malcolm Subban’s fault. Two of them were because of terrible turnovers that left Subban between a rock and a hard place. The Golden Knights had been doing better at maintaining the puck over the past couple of weeks, but those old habits creeped from behind again.
Considering how the Golden Knights have not scored a goal on Dallas goalie Ben Bishop (who is expected to play Saturday after tweaking his back), they can’t turn the puck over, especially against a high-powered offense like the Stars. Radek Faksa won’t score hat tricks often, but he will strike at the chance if Vegas doesn’t play a much cleaner game.
Rest assured, Vegas is in a good spot in the standings and Friday’s win was impressive. Dallas, however, is good. Vegas knows this.
The defense needs to play better.
As much as the goaltending and offense is hot for Vegas right now, the defense is not. Vegas has allowed 30 or more shots in six straight games. Fortunately, as has been the case for the Golden Knights on a few occasion, shots on goal won’t mean much. However, as Nashville showed Friday, constant pressure will surely break the dam at some point. While Subban wasn’t at fault for those goals he gave up, Nashville’s pressure was surely a factor.
When facing a team that has Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and the surging Alexander Radulov, the Golden Knights know Dallas is going to apply that same type of pressure. The defensive pairings need to be ready for that. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back will make it difficult to keep up with that pace, but it’s a tall task Vegas needs to be willing to take on.
How to watch
Time: 5 p.m. PT
Watch: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, NHL.TV
Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM