The Vegas Golden Knights are coming off a triumphant 5-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks that sent John Gibson to the bench. It was a spectacular game from a lot of players who needed to show up, and it worked for three periods.
The things that needed addressing were addressed. Marc-Andre Fleury was better, the core looked better and the power play got on the board, with Alex Tuch opening the scoring in the first period.
Now it’s time to build on that success against a slow-starting opponent much like the Ducks — the St. Louis Blues.
David Perron revenge game, part deux
Perron still hasn’t scored a point against the Golden Knights, despite having already played his first revenge game. This leaves it up in the air whether he’ll finally get that point in this game — and potentially more — or if Vegas will prove capable of defying him once more.
Perron has been excellent at multiple times this season (he has three multiple-point performances in 16 games) or he could be less than good (nine games without a point, including his last three). The way Perron performs could impact the way the Blues perform in this game, so it’ll be good to have a middle-six capable of shutting him down.
The second line is on fire, and I’m not just talking about Eakin’s hair
In a potential situation with Perron looking for revenge (and now hungrier for it), it will be very good to have Vegas’ second line going like they are. In the game against Anaheim, the second line combined for three goals and six points. Cody Eakin is doing a lot of the damage as he’s second in goals scored this season on the Vegas roster with seven.
But Alex Tuch is becoming one of the team’s best players, and Max Pacioretty showed that he’s more than a cursed goal scorer with two assists. That could be the start of something for Pacioretty, because the second line has already shown what it is capable of.
In each of the Knights’ last five games, the second line has scored at least one point. Whether that’s been through Eakin or Tuch (or more often a combination of the two), they seem to just be going off. It’ll be ideal if they can get Pacioretty going along with them, and this would be a good game to start.
Where in the world is Jonathan Marchessault?
You know who isn’t on fire right now? Jonathan Marchessault.
Despite Tuch coming for his throne as Vegas’ most important player, though, Marchessault still has the most points on the season, the most goals on the season and has been an impact player since the Knights’ first-ever game
But in a goal-scoring feast against the Ducks, Marchessault had zero points. In fact, in the five games where the second line has stepped up their game, Marchessault has just two points.
Marchessault is also lacking his usual energy, and has not been the shot-production machine he has been in the past. In the past five games, he has led the team in shots twice but has otherwise been outshot by the likes of Pacioretty and Shea Theodore. That goal-scoring drought (relatively speaking) would be bad enough, but Marchessault hasn’t added an assist since Nov. 1.
With another Vegas winger seeking a turnaround right now, Marchessault could certainly use one as well.
Allow one goal or less, please (maybe two)
The Golden Knights’ record when allowing less than two goals: 6-0-0
The Golden Knights’ record when allowing more than two goals: 2-10-1
The Golden Knights have strangely not played a game where they allowed exactly two goals. Weird. So it’s undetermined whether the Golden Knights are good or not when allowing exactly two goals this season. Maybe that’s what we’ll see out of St. Louis.
Like most teams, the Golden Knights will be better when they limit the goals against to a significantly small number. It gives them a better chance to win when all they need from their offense is one or two goals. This isn’t all on Fleury, as the defense still can do better, but improved efforts like the one against the Ducks becoming more common would be a very good thing right now.
Maybe keep those gold pads on for a while. Certainly couldn’t hurt. Well, certainly couldn’t hurt the team. Could do a lot of damage to the Vegas community if there was suddenly an unending supply of free doughnuts, but I’m sure everyone is willing to make the sacrifice.
How to watch
Time: 7:00 p.m. PT
TV: AT&T Sports - Rocky Mountain
Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM