The Vegas Golden Knights (15-4-1) will kick off a three-game homestand against the Ottawa Senators (6-11-1) tonight at T-Mobile Arena. Vegas has an all-time record of 8-1-0 against Ottawa.
The Golden Knights have stumbled a bit of late, going 2-2-1 and losing three of their last five games after mounting a nine-game winning streak.
However, Vegas is coming off a thrilling victory against the Vancouver Canucks in which the Golden Knights gave up three goals in the first 6:11 of the third period and then scored three straight of their own for the 5-4 win.
Ottawa has the fewest points in the Eastern Conference and the second-fewest in the league with just 13, trailing only Anaheim (11).
It has been a disappointing start for the Senators, who had high expectations following an explosive offseason with the acquisitions of Claude Giroux, Alex DeBrincat and Cam Talbot.
But Ottawa has gone 2-9-1 in its last 12 games ahead of tonight’s contest against the Golden Knights, who defeated the Senators 5-4 earlier this month. The Golden Knights held a 5-1 lead 10:14 into the second period of that game but proceeded to surrender three straight as the Senators pushed until the very end.
Talbot made his Senators debut in relief of Anton Forsberg in that Nov. 3 matchup. Talbot was solid, stopping all 13 shots he faced, but has since gone 1-4-0. That being said, his numbers have been better than that record, as he holds a 2.79 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in seven games.
Logan Thompson — who currently sits at 10-3-0 on the year and who has gone 6-1-0 this month — stopped 42 of 46 shots for a .913 save percentage in that meeting. Thompson will get the nod tonight for the home team.
He will have his hands full with a highly-skilled top six, which features the team’s three leading scorers in Brady Tkachuk (22), Giroux (18) and Tim Stutzle (18). Giroux and Stutzle accounted for all four of Ottawa’s goals when these teams played three weeks ago.
But they will have to contend with Alex Pietrangelo, who will be skating in his 900th career game tonight. He is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen with 20 points in 20 games and is coming off a three-point performance, his fourth in November and third in the last six games. He is second on the Golden Knights in scoring behind only Jack Eichel (24).
Nicolas Roy is not expected to play tonight or in the remaining games this week.
Chandler Stephenson — Jack Eichel — Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault — William Karlsson — Reilly Smith
Paul Cotter — Michael Amadio — Phil Kessel
William Carrier — Brett Howden — Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague — Zach Whitecloud
Brady Tkachuk — Tim Stutzle — Drake Batherson
Alex DeBrincat — Shane Pinto — Claude Giroux
Tyler Motte — Derick Brassard — Mathieu Joseph
Parker Kelly — Dylan Gambrell — Austin Watson
Jake Sanderson — Travis Hamonic
Erik Brannstrom — Artem Zub
Nick Holden — Lassi Thomson