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Preview: Golden Knights square off against Canucks in second half of back-to-back

Vegas defeated Vancouver 5-4 earlier this week.

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Vegas Golden Knights v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights (16-5-1) and Vancouver Canucks (7-10-3) will clash for the second time this season as the Golden Knights wrap up a back-to-back set and three-game homestand tonight at T-Mobile Arena.

Vegas won a wild 5-4 game against Vancouver earlier this week but is coming off a tough 4-2 loss to Seattle, the first in franchise history.

Monday’s win against the Canucks featured six goals in the third period. First, Vancouver scored three straight, taking a 4-2 lead just 6:11 into the final frame. However, the Golden Knights followed suit with three unanswered goals in the span of 7:20 for the 5-4 win.

It wasn’t Logan Thompson’s best game, as he surrendered four goals on 29 shots; however, Thompson was stellar in his last start, a 4-1 win against Ottawa in which he stopped 39 of 40.

Adin Hill, who was in net last night against Seattle, has lost three straight starts (0-2-1), while Thompson has won each of his last three.

Vancouver got off to a very rough start to the season, dropping its first seven games of the year. However, the Canucks — now in sixth place in the Pacific Division with 17 points in 20 games — have won three of four.

Thatcher Demko is 2-9-2 with a 3.87 goals-against average and .883 save percentage, while backup Spencer Martin has gone 5-1-1 with a 3.42 goals-against average and .901 save percentage.

Elias Pettersson leads the team in scoring with 10 goals and 24 points in 20 games; Bo Horvat has a team-high 16 goals and also is producing at more than a point-per-game pace with 22 points thus far. Horvat is tied with Connor McDavid for second overall in goals this season.

J.T. Miller has 10 goals and 19 points, while defenseman Quinn Hughes has 18 points — all assists — in 16 games. First-year player Andrei Kuzmenko has 16 points in 19 games.

Those five players have combined for 40 points on the power play, so it’s no surprise Vancouver’s man-advantage ranks fifth overall with a 27.1 percent conversion rate.

Both teams were held to just one power play in Monday’s tilt, neither of which resulted in a goal. Vegas will need to play with discipline to avoid the Canucks’ top-notch power play.

Neither team has been particularly effective on the penalty kill. Vegas is ranked 22nd in the league with a 76.9 percent efficacy rate.

However, the Canucks are ranked 32nd, operating at just 65.7 percent. They have allowed the second-most power-play goals (23), trailing only Anaheim (27), yet rank 14th overall with an average of 3.35 shorthanded minutes per game. The Canucks are 32nd in team save percentage while shorthanded (74.73 percent) and 29th in high-danger save percentage while shorthanded (70 percent).

Demko has the third-lowest goals saved above average (-8.84) and second-worst goals saved above expected (-9.18) among goalies with at least eight starts. Aside from Anaheim’s John Gibson, Demko has the worst numbers while shorthanded, with a -5.74 goals saved above average and -6.69 goals saved above expected.

Martin, by contrast, sits at -1.2 GSAA and -0.38 GSAx at all strengths and -1.63 GSAA and -0.67 GSAx while shorthanded.

Thompson, meanwhile, has the fourth-highest GSAA (8.41), and his 6.09 GSAx is good for 10th overall.

The Golden Knights are 3-3-1 in their last seven games and will look to improve on their 7-4-1 home record (compared to 9-1-1 on the road).

Tonight will mark the first time the Golden Knights wear their reverse retro jerseys.


Projected lineups

Golden Knights

Chandler Stephenson — Jack Eichel — Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault — William Karlsson — Reilly Smith
Paul Cotter — Nicolas Roy — Phil Kessel
William Carrier — Jake Leschyshyn — Keegan Kolesar

Alec Martinez — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague — Zach Whitecloud

Logan Thompson
Adin Hill

Canucks

J.T. Miller — Bo Horvat — Nils Hoglander
Andrei Kuzmenko — Elias Pettersson — Ilya Mikheyev
Conor Garland — Sheldon Dries — Brock Boeser
Dakota Joshua — Nils Aman — Curtis Lazar

Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Ethan Bear
Quinn Hughes — Luke Schenn
Kyle Burroughs — Tyler Myers

Spencer Martin
Thatcher Demko