The Golden Knights were supposed to play the San Jose Sharks on Thursday and lead up to this meeting with a weird Anaheim team, but a Sharks player (Tomas Hertl) went into COVID-19 protocol and the game was postponed out of an abundance of caution.
So, the Golden Knights had a full practice Wednesday, were set to travel to San Jose, only to find out the game was postponed before they got on the plane. Completely normal.
“There’s definitely some frustration, because you’d run a different practice if you knew you weren’t traveling and playing the next day,” said Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer. “We’re dealing wtih exceptional circumstances and you’ve got to roll with the punches in this league.”
At least the Golden Knights didn’t have to change their travel plans too much. It’s still California — just not northern, I suppose.
And rather an instance where the Golden Knights would play a Sharks team that likely would be taking a run at a couple of Vegas players as a result of last meeting, they’ll instead face the Ducks for the fifth time this season, and first at the home of Mickey Mouse.
The Golden Knights are 3-1-0 against Anaheim this season; the last meeting was a 1-0 victory for the Ducks at T-Mobile Arena, where noted Vegas thorn-in-the-side Max Comtois scored the lone goal. The forward has four goals in four games against the Golden Knights.
But while the focus should be on another winnable game for the Golden Knights against the last-place team in the West Division, this will be Vegas’ first look at Anaheim’s top prospect Trevor Zegras. The No. 9 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and the MVP of this past winter’s World Juniors tournament, Zegras will be playing his third NHL game after being recalled from AHL San Diego on Feb. 21.
DeBoer might have an inside scouting report on the 19-year-old dynamo. Zegras was teammates at Boston University with Jack DeBoer, Pete’s son.
“When we practiced at Boston University last year, when I took the job in January ... I had a conversation with Trevor in the BU dressing room and asked him at what point did I forsee seeing him in our division,” DeBoer said. “I’m not surprised it happend this quickly. He was an elite player everywhere he’s been. He’s a great kid. My son says he’s a great teammate. His only advice was don’t take penalties and keep him off the power play.”
Get comfortable with seeing the Golden Knights on the road. Starting Saturday, seven of their next nine will be away from T-Mobile Arena. But more importantly, Monday will be a home game against the Minnesota Wild, and will be the first with fans in the building. Approximately 2,600 fans will be allowed for a Golden Knights game for the first time in almost a year to the day.
“I can’t wait,” said captain Mark Stone. “Fans are one of the main reason this is the place I wanted to come to. We sell out our rink night in and night out. We’re just excited to have them back. It’s a limited capacity, but it’s going to feel so nice to have them back. They’ve supported this franchise from Day 1, and for us, we miss them. We miss them dearly.”
Golden Knights projected lineup
Alex Tuch — Chandler Stephenson — Mark Stone
Max Pacioretty — Cody Glass — Reilly Smith
Jonathan Marchessault — William Karlsson — Nicolas Roy
William Carrier — Keegan Kolesar — Ryan Reaves
Shea Theodore — Alex Pietrangelo
Alec Martinez — Zach Whitecloud
Nicolas Hague — Dylan Coghlan
- The lines have been the same the last two full practices after throwing the lineup in a blender Monday against Colorado. Expect them to stay the same.
- Barring any unforseen circumstances (and this is prior to morning skate in Anaheim), Robin Lehner is not expected to be in the lineup yet again, which means Fleury makes his ninth consecutive start. As for the backup, Oscar Dansk started the last two games with AHL Henderson and could seemingly be the backup if he got to Anaheim in time. For now, expect Thompson to back up Fleury.