Gameday: Golden Knights return home to face red-hot Coyotes
Arizona is no longer the ugly stepchild. With the ‘Yotes two points back of Edmonton, Vegas needs a win.
Was Wednesday the turning point the Vegas Golden Knights were looking for? We’re about to find out in a quick way.
After the Golden Knights stunned the hockey world with a 4-3 overtime victory against the Nashville Predators and went into Thanksgiving on the highest of notes, Vegas returns to home ice Friday to take on the Arizona Coyotes for the second time this season.
The Coyotes are establishing themselves as contenders in the Pacific Division, sitting only two points behind the Edmonton Oilers for first place. Arizona has earned a point in eight of its past nine games (6-2-1) and are coming off a 4-3 shootout victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.
Arizona has 33 points since Oct. 10, tied with the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins for most in the NHL. Oct. 10 was also the last time Vegas and Arizona faced off, resulting in a 4-1 victory for the Coyotes. That would also be the last time Malcolm Subban would be seen for a few weeks; he sustained a lower-body injury toward the tail-end of the first period of that game.
Subban will be making his third consecutive start in place of Marc-Andre Fleury, who is back home in Montreal tending to a serious family illness.
Vegas has earned a point in four of the past six games (3-2-1) after going winless in their previous five. The Golden Knights will try to win for only the fourth time since Nov. 5. Not good, chief.
For the Golden Knights, it’s about finding consistency and stringing wins together. Many times this season Vegas has found itself on the right side of some wins that could be termed as ‘season defining.’ Wednesday was another one of those instances. If not for Max Pacioretty’s buzzer-beating goal and Paul Stastny giving the Golden Knights their first overtime win since Jan. 12, we’re talking about another blown two-goal lead resulting in a loss in Nashville.
Vegas needs to play better in front of Subban for an entire 60 minutes. Against an Arizona team that’s been very good at keeping the puck out of the net, the Golden Knights need a solid performance before heading to the east coast.
Coyotes projected lineup
Clayton Keller -- Nick Schmaltz -- Phil Kessel
Christian Dvorak -- Derek Stepan -- Vinnie Hinostroza
Barrett Hayton -- Carl Soderberg -- Conor Garland
Michael Grabner -- Brad Richardson -- Christian Fischer
Jakob Chychrun -- Alex Goligoski
Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers
Ilya Lyubushkin -- Jordan Oesterle
Golden Knights projected lineup
Jonathan Marchessault -- William Karlsson -- Reilly Smith
Max Pacioretty -- Paul Stastny -- Mark Stone
Alex Tuch -- Cody Eakin -- Cody Glass
William Carrier -- Tomas Nosek -- Ryan Reaves
Brayden McNabb -- Nate Schmidt
Nicolas Hague -- Shea Theodore
Jon Merrill -- Nick Holden
How to watch
Time: 3 p.m.
TV: AT&T SportsNet, NHL.TV
Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM