Golden Knights at Ducks Preview: Vegas looks for sixth straight win and series sweep
The Knights are 5-1-0 against the Ducks so far this season.
The Vegas Golden Knights were absolutely dominant Friday night against Anaheim, securing a 4-0 win with a team-wide, 60-minute effort.
The Knights potted three goals in the second period and added a fourth in the third, though they could have run up the score. Chandler Stephenson failed to convert on a shorthanded penalty shot, and John Gibson stood tall for Anaheim, stopping 47 shots.
The Knights won the Corsi battle in all three periods and more than doubled Anaheim in every possession category across the board, including Corsi (65-32), scoring chances (38-16) and high-danger Corsi (15-7), all at 5-on-5. That resulted in Corsi For percentages of 56.82, 85.19 and 65.38 in the three periods, respectively.
Vegas will look for more of the same this afternoon.
The Knights are currently riding a five-game winning streak; stretching it to six would tie the team’s season-high streak from late February and early March, which included a 3-2 overtime win against the Ducks.
This time around, however, the Knights have a chance to pull into a tie with Colorado for the West Division lead with 64 points. The Avalanche and Knights sit atop the league standings as the only two teams to have reached 30 wins this season; Vegas is tied with Carolina for second overall in the league as far as points percentage, but the Knights hold the ROW tiebreaker (and aren’t in the same division).
With Colorado currently facing a COVID-related delay in scheduling, this afternoon’s game in Anaheim is a prime opportunity for the Knights to take advantage and move up in the standings. The Avalanche will have games in hand, but points are points, and the Knights need to take advantage of every matchup, starting with today’s.
What to watch for
- The Knights will look to continue to get pucks on net. They did so at record pace on Friday, recording 15 in the first period, 23 in the second and 51 for the game. They outshot the Ducks by 20 shots in the middle frame, the period during which they picked up three of their four goals, one of which came just nine seconds in. Gibson stopped 47 of 51 on the night, which is why this game wasn’t even more lopsided. The Knights spent the majority of the game in Anaheim’s end, yielding just 16 shots to the Ducks, which helped Robin Lehner move to 7-0-1 since returning from a concussion. That being said, there were times in the game when it seemed as though Vegas was just piling on low-probability shots. Getting pucks on net just for the sake of it isn’t generally an effective strategy, even if the Knights’ all-out blitz proved successful in the end. The Knights took their foot off the gas in the third period, something that has happened during the current winning streak, and gave up five high-danger chances (while generating just two) at 5-on-5, but Lehner was up to the task. Anaheim is sure to be determined to bounce back after an embarrassing effort, so the Knights need to take advantage of meaningful scoring chances and continue to push the pace all afternoon.
- Neither team registered a goal on the power play in Friday’s matchup, with the Knights going 0-for-4 on the night and the Ducks going 0-for-2. The Knights remain the only team in the West Division that has yet to score a power-play goal against the Ducks. Considering Anaheim’s penalty kill is merely average (79.1 percent), this doesn’t quite add up. The Knights’ power play has looked better in recent games, but it’s still not where it needs to be heading into the final stretch of the season. That’s something the Knights must figure out over the next 13 games.
- The Ducks have been remarkably better on the road than at home this season, and the numbers are compelling. On the year, the Ducks are 14-24-7, which equates to a points percentage of .389. When you take home-road splits into account, the numbers are quite different. On the road, the Ducks have won half of their games, going 9-9-3 for a .500 points percentage. At home, however, the Ducks are 5-15-4 for a points percentage of .289. The Ducks currently sit dead-last in the league rankings with an 11.1 percent effectiveness rate on the man advantage. That number improves to an impressive 20 percent on the road — good for 16th overall — but drops all the way down to 5.1 percent at home; not surprisingly, that’s the worst conversion rate in the NHL. The numbers work in Vegas’ favor considering both remaining games between these teams will be played at Honda Center./
How to watch
Time: 1 p.m.
TV: AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+
Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM