Gameday: Golden Knights aim to get back on track against Blackhawks

So, this game isn’t short on news.

The Vegas Golden Knights lost very badly to the New York Rangers on Sunday. We don’t need to remind you, though. It’s a new day, and it’s time for a new opponent to enter the Fortress.

Prior to Nov. 13, there were two teams that had never one a game against the Golden Knights: the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks. That changed on the 13th when the Blackhawks scored five unanswered goals to come back from a 2-0 deficit. Vegas dominated that game from a Corsi standpoint, but the 5-3 scoreboard said otherwise. Gerard Gallant cited the sloppy defense. Others pointed out some bad puck luck (remember this?) Regardless, the Golden Knights have also walked away with a win against the Blackhawks this season… though “walked” might be the wrong word to convey a low-scoring shootout victory.

Do not be fooled by the standings, because this is a very evenly-matched game up ahead. Chicago currently sits at the bottom of the Central Division with 30 points, but Vegas only has five more points and are ranked third in the Pacific. Hockey, man. This should be a fun one.

Cody and Cody

It brings me great sadness to type this: both Cody Eakin and Cody Glass will not be playing today.

Cody Eakin we knew about. The red-headed forward is week-to-week with an upper-body injury. That hasn’t changed. Unfortunately, Cody Glass’ status has. Glass has had an excellent rookie season thus far, but Brendan Lemieux caught him with his elbow Sunday night. Glass looked like he was struggling to get up, and he wasn’t at practice yesterday, so we should not expect him tonight. While Gallant said the rookie suffered an upper-body injury, we can speculate that he is suffering from a concussion.

So the Knights are down two Codys. While Eakin has been relatively quiet this season, Glass has shined as a rookie. Depending on who he’s sharing the ice with, he can create excellent scoring chances, both for himself and others. Without Eakin and Glass, what can we expect from tonight’s lineup? Lucky us, GM Kelly McCrimmon decided he was feeling a little spicy last night.

Hey, remember that guy that got suspended for 20 games over a PED violation?

Valentin Zykov is back. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.

On Monday night, Vegas shocked their fans by recalling Zykov from the Chicago Wolves. This is shocking because No. 7 was sent to the Wolves (both figuratively and literally) right before his 20-game suspension had been lifted. The NHL announced Zykov’s PED violation on Oct. 17, early enough in the season that the Russian forward hadn’t quite established himself on the Golden Knights lineup yet. When Zykov went to Chicago, many were wondering if we’d ever see him in Vegas again.

Well, the time is now, apparently. Eakin and Glass’ injuries are both week-to-week, which means the Knights need more than a small bandage to patch things up. Given, Zykov is only playing on an emergency basis. But the choice to bring up Zykov over Nicolas Roy (an emergency basis favorite as of late) is a notable one because it is a true second chance.

Zykov has two points in seven NHL games so far this season, both from assists. With the Wolves this season, he has played in five games, notching one goal in three assists.

Oh, and someone else is probably back

There’s no point of writing a few paragraphs about this, so I’ll skip to the point. Marc-Andre Fleury will probably be your starting goalie tonight.

Malcolm Subban has had some excellent games, and his time in-net will be missed. He skates away with a 4-1-1 record and a save percentage of .916 since Nov. 27. As we know, though, there’s no one like Flower, who is returning after spending time with his family. The passing of his father is sure to impact him for many games to come, but the hope is that he will feel the love from his teammates and fans tonight. Also, many are just excited to see his return.

One quick note: the Blackhawks have… not been an offensive powerhouse this season, to say the least. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights have had on-and-off struggles defensively. If all goes well tonight, Vegas’s defense will be in good shape against this low-scoring team, keeping their goalie supported the entire time.

How to watch

Time: 7 p.m. PT

TV: AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+, NHL.TV

Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM