After a gruelling 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night, the Vegas Golden Knights head north of the border to take on the Vancouver Canucks. This will be the first game of a back-to-back for Vegas with Calgary on deck Sunday (you probably won’t want to miss that one).
With the Canucks free falling in the standings, having lost 12 of their last 16 games, you hope this isn’t one of those dreaded “trap games” where Vegas has their sights set on Calgary and perhaps overlooks Vancouver a bit.
I doubt that will be the case with the Golden Knights needing every point they can get, but you would really hate to see this glorious win streak come to an abrupt end against a struggling team like Vancouver.
Here’s what to watch for on Saturday night.
Fourth line needs to bounce back
Vegas’ fourth line did not have their best game against the Flames on Wednesday. They didn’t necessarily hurt the Golden Knights on the scoreboard, but in terms of possession, they were crushed.
Perhaps the Canucks are the perfect antidote for Vegas’ fourth line? Last Sunday the line of Ryan Carpenter, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Ryan Reaves were absolutely dominant in 5-on-5 play and they even potted a goal against the Canucks.
GOAL. Ryan Carpenter scores his first goal since Jan. 12 to double the Vegas lead. pic.twitter.com/lw9YU2rgA9— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) March 3, 2019
Anytime you can get a goal from the fourth line it’s a bonus. The main thing for this line is to have it get back on track and hopefully put together one of their trademark heavy games.
Can Mark Stone find twine?
Despite Vegas posting a 5-0-0 record with Stone in the lineup, the dynamic 26-year-old winger has still yet to score his first goal with the Golden Knights. Perhaps we can chalk it up to bad puck luck because Stone has been very effective when on the ice, firing 18 shots at the net and creating 18 high-danger chances.
Against the Flames, Stone registered his second assist with the Golden Knights while on the power play, but it was his dominant 5-on-5 play where he posted a 55.8 Corsi For percentage that really stood out. If Wednesday was any indication, I would bet on Stone finding the back of the net at some point this weekend.
Home sweet home
The Canucks are mired in a dreadful stretch of hockey right now and are absolutely free falling in the standings. However, if there is a positive with this group, it is that they have been tough to play against at home in Rogers Arena.
Take their last home game on Wednesday night for example, when they battled back from a 2-0 deficit and surprised the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime with a 3-2 victory. Things were looking grim early for the Canucks, but they battled back and hung around long enough to steal one from the Leafs.
Vancouver is 7-5-3 over their last 15 home games, which isn’t an intimidating record by any means, but with wins over Toronto, Calgary and St. Louis you can see how they are a pesky group to play against when at home.
How to watch
Time: 7 p.m. PT
TV: AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+, CBC, Sportsnet Pacific
Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM