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Preview: Golden Knights look to build momentum as they wrap up season series against Sens

Vegas defeated Ottawa 5-1 earlier this season and is 6-1-0 in the all-time matchup.

Ottawa Senators v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights (31-21-4) will host the Ottawa Senators (19-30-5) Sunday at 5 p.m., and after their 5-4 victory over Anaheim on Friday, they are looking for consecutive wins for the first time since Feb. 8.

The Knights have a relatively weaker schedule in the short-term as they play Ottawa at home, then Philadelphia and Buffalo on the road to start a five-game road trip.

They will need to capitalize on these matchups against non-playoff teams before the quality of competition picks up. The Knights currently trail Los Angeles by one point in the Pacific Division standings and hold a two-point lead over Edmonton.

Vegas snapped out of its offensive struggles with five goals in Anaheim; the Knights must build on that starting tonight against the Senators.

Jack Eichel has dazzled as a Golden Knight, and despite not getting on the board in Anaheim, he drove a lot of the play in his season-high 21:28 of ice time.

The Golden Knights had several players put an end to cold streaks, including Nicolas Roy, who scored two goals against the Ducks after not scoring for 15 games. It was the first two-goal game of his career, and he thrived after getting bumped to the top line.

Another player who got on the board was Ben Hutton. The Knights have since rewarded him with a two-year extension with an AAV of $850,000. Hutton has been worth 2.1 expected goals above replacement, according Evolving-Hockey.

Evgenii Dadonov, acquired from Ottawa in an offseason trade, was credited with an assist on Hutton’s first-period tally. Dadonov hadn’t recorded a single point in his previous 14 contests.

Robin Lehner will likely be in net against the Senators after a rough performance by Laurent Brossoit. Lehner gave up four goals on 35 shots against the Boston Bruins in his most recent start, a 5-2 loss on Thursday. He made 38 saves on 39 shots when these teams squared off in Ottawa earlier this season. Lehner has 9.39 goals saved above expected this season, according to Evolving-Hockey.

The Senators enter the matchup in the fourth game of a five-game road trip and have lost four straight games, including an 8-5 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. Ottawa got out to a 5-4 lead early in the third period in Glendale after trailing 4-0 at the midway point of the game but still fell short in the end.

Matt Murray made 23 saves on 31 shots, so Anton Forsberg is expected to man the crease for the Sens in Vegas. Forsberg is 11-9-2 with a 2.80 goals-against average and .918 save percentage and has one shutout.

The Senators are led by Brady Tkachuk, who has 17 goals and 38 points in 51 games. Drake Batherson is second on the team with 34 in 31 games but is out with a long-term injury. Defenseman Thomas Chabot has 31 points, Connor Brown has 30 and second-year forward Tim Stutzle rounds out the top-5 with 29.

Former Golden Knights defenseman Nick Holden has four goals and 12 points in 48 games with his new club. Erik Brannstrom has only played 25 games this season but is expected to be in the lineup against the team that drafted him with the No. 15 pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Vegas won the first meeting between these clubs by a 5-1 final score back on Nov. 4, the same day the Knights acquired Eichel. The Knights are 6-1-0 all-time against the Senators.

Vegas will be on the road until March 17 following tonight’s contest.

Projected lineups

Ottawa

Tkachuk — Colin White — Zach Sanford
Alex Formenton — Stutzle — Adam Gaudette
Nick Paul — Josh Norris — Connor Brown
Parker Kelly — Dylan Gambrell — Austin Watson

Chabot — Nikita Zaitsev
Holden — Artem Zub
Brannstrom — Josh Brown

Forsberg
Murray

Vegas

Dadonov — Eichel — Roy
Marchessaut — Karlsson — Smith
Carrier — Stephenson — Amadio
Rondbjerg — Leschyshyn — Kolesar

Hague — Pietrangelo
Theodore — Whitecloud
Hutton — Coghlan

Lehner
Brossoit


How to watch

Time: 5 p.m.

TV: AT&T SportsNet

Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM