The Vegas Golden Knights have sort of stumbled their way into a 1-3-0 start following a 5-2 loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals and now get the unenviable task of playing the Pittsburgh Penguins on the second half of a back-to-back.
The Penguins are 1-1-0 and will be playing without starting netminder Matt Murray, who has been diagnosed with a concussion.
You’d hate to call injuries a fortunate break for anyone, because they aren’t, but even I have doubts that head coach Gerard Gallant is crying into his morning oatmeal over the situation (I have no sources on this, I just assume he’s an oatmeal kind of guy).
This likely means Casey DeSmith will get the nod for the Penguins against, presumably, Malcolm Subban, who will be making his first start of the season.
The 27-year-old DeSmith is making his first appearance of the year after a 2017-18 campaign where he played 14 games for the Penguins, managing an impressive .921 save percentage and a 2.40 goals against average.
Of course Vegas would run into the Rolls-Royce of backup goalies right now.
Kris Letang leads the Penguins in scoring with four points (two goals and two assists) with Evgeni Malkin (a goal and two assists) right behind him. They also have six other players with at least two points, including Jake Guentzel and Sidney Crosby.
To put that into context, the Golden Knights have just two players with two points or more on their roster and have played two more games than the Penguins so far.
Help us, Malcolm Subban. You’re our only hope.
Marc-Andre Fleury is sporting a 3.95 goals against with an .846 save percentage through four games. That’s just not going to get it done. However, he will not be in net for the Golden Knights against his former club.
He has played in just one game this year — the debacle against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 4 — and made nine stops on nine shots in relief. Vegas will need more of that against the Penguins if they want to right the ship.
Oh, and hey, I wasn’t able to fit this anywhere else but Jon Merrill and Nick Holden were each plus-two last night against Washington so... positives?
Seven goals in four games... That sounds wrong.
The Penguins have given up no less than five goals in each of their first two games, a 7-6 overtime win over Washington and a 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
This, combined with DeSmith starting in place of the injured Murray, sort of feels like the kind of game Vegas should (and probably would have last season) dominated.
As mentioned earlier, the Golden Knights have just two players with multiple points this season through four games and are in need of an offensive outburst, even if they have to do it without Paul Stastny, who is still out with a lower-body injury.
Keep in mind that many teams have only played one or two games this season, but in terms of goals for per game Vegas presently sits as No. 27 in the league at 1.67 GF/GP. A far cry from the 3.27 they averaged last season.
How to Watch
Assuming I haven’t bummed you out and you’d still like to watch the game here is what you need to know.
When: 4PM PT
Where: SN1, SNE, SNO, ATTSN-PT, ATTSN-RM