The Golden Knights are winners of four straight games, and Marc-Andre Fleury enters tonight’s contest with five consecutive wins as well as three shutouts in his last seven games. Needless to say, Flower appears to be back.
The same very well may be true of the Knights, who have won four in a row and who are coming off three especially impressive wins, including a 2-0 shutout against the Flames, a 6-0 performance against the Sharks and an 8-3 victory over the Blackhawks; Vegas’ eight goals set a franchise record for the most scored in a single game.
The Knights head to Vancouver for tonight’s game after losing in overtime to the Canucks earlier this season. Bo Horvat, who centers the team’s top line, scored two goals in that game, though the Canucks were without several top players. For one thing, rookie Elias Pettersson was out of the lineup, as was sophomore Brock Boeser, who just returned from injury the other night. Also, veteran defenseman Alex Edler played just over three minutes before suffering an injury when these teams met Oct. 24, which then kept him out of commission until a few days ago.
For the Knights, the second line continues to thrive, with Cody Eakin, Alex Tuch and Max Pacioretty doing plenty of damage in recent contests. Tuch enters tonight’s game with a goal and an assist in three straight games as well as seven points in his last four games and 19 points in 18 games this season, while Pacioretty is riding a six-game point streak during which he has recorded six goals and nine points. Eakin scored his 9th and 10th goals of the season the other night in Chicago.
The Knights will face Brendan Leipsic, who played 44 games with Vegas last season, but it’s Pettersson Vegas really needs to look at for. He leads all rookies in goals (13) and points (21) and has been drawing penalties on a frequent basis. His scoring has slowed since he managed 10 goals and 16 points in his first 10 games, but he’s still a threat whenever he has the puck and, along with Boeser, will make Vancouver’s offense much more dynamic than the one Vegas saw earlier this year.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
Marchessault — Karlsson — Smith
Pacioretty — Eakin — Tuch
Nosek — Carpenter — Carr
Carrier — Bellemare — Reaves
McNabb — Schmidt
Theodore — Engelland
Holden — Miller
Leipsic — Horvat — Virtanen
Goldobin — Pettersson — Boeser
Roussel — Granlund — Eriksson
Motte — Gaudette — Gagner
Edler — Biega
Del Zotto — Tanev
Hutton — Stecher