Vegas has lost five out of its last six games on home ice but most recently defeated the Predators in convincing fashion, recording 50 shots and scoring five times in a 5-1 victory.
Which Knights team will show up tonight is anybody’s guess. But considering there are just 21 games remaining this season, the Knights can’t afford to be casual at this stage of the season.
The big news headed into tonight’s game is that Boston acquired Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Ryan Donato and a fifth-round pick.
Boston has been dominant of late, going 8-0-1 in nine games in February. Impressively, the Bruins have not lost a beat without superstar winger David Pastrnak, who is out with a thumb injury. However, Coyle can help bridge the gap until his return.
Danton Heinen has done an admirable job filling in for Pastrnak on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, though Boston’s second line has been very productive in recent games as well. In fact, David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk have combined for 18 points in their last four games. They’ll likely skate with Karson Kuhlman tonight with Peter Cehlarik sidelined with a lower-body injury; Kuhlman scored a goal the other night in a wild 6-5 overtime win against the Sharks.
Even so, Boston’s top line will still be the most difficult matchup for Vegas, especially since it hasn’t conceded an even-strength goal in the last 10 games. The Bruins’ recent stretch has catapulted them into second place in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning.
With William Carrier considered week-to-week, expect to see Tomas Nosek on the fourth line once again tonight. Also, it’s possible Colin Miller will be out of the lineup tonight; Nick Holden has been activated from injured reserve. For the forwards, it’ll be interesting to see whether Gerard Gallant goes back to the line combinations that were so successful against Nashville, or whether he’ll stick with the regular lines (as he did throughout the game in Colorado).
Here are the projected lineups for both clubs:
Marchessault — Karlsson — Smith
Pirri — Stastny — Tuch
Pacioretty — Eakin — Lindberg
Nosek — Bellemare — Reaves
McNabb — Theodore
Engelland — Schmidt
Merrill — Holden
Marchand (#63) — Bergeron (#37) — Heinen (#43)
DeBrusk (#74) — Krejci (#46) — Kuhlman (#83)
Kuraly (#52) — Acciari (#55) — Wagner (#14)
Nordstrom (#20) — Frederic (#82) — Backes (#42)
Chara (#33) — McAvoy (#73)
Krug (#47) — Carlo (#25)
Grzelcyk (#48) — Miller (#86)