Preview: Golden Knights host Ducks for Nevada Day matinee
The Ducks look to snap a six-game skid, while Vegas aims for its third straight win.
The Vegas Golden Knights (6-2-0) will look to improve their home record to 4-1-0 when they welcome the Anaheim Ducks (1-5-1) to T-Mobile Arena for an afternoon tilt in honor of Nevada Day.
Fun fact: Nevada Day is technically Oct. 31 but is celebrated on the last Friday of October.
The Golden Knights are 20-4-0 all-time against the Ducks, averaging 3.83 goals per game and giving up an average of 2.17.
Vegas went 3-1-0 against Anaheim last year, though the scoring was up in the season series, as Vegas averaged 4.5 goals for and 3.75 against.
Through eight games, the Golden Knights have averaged 3.25 goals, good for 15th overall, while surrendering an average of two, which ranks second.
Anaheim has scored 2.29 goals per game and has given up an average of 4.43; both are the second-worst rates in the league.
The Golden Knights enter today’s game in search of their third straight win. They are coming off a successful and memorable back-to-back set featuring a 3-1 win against Toronto and a 4-2 victory against San Jose. Not to mention two milestone achievements for Phil Kessel, who broke the ironman streak in his 990th consecutive game and also scored the 400th goal of his career.
Phil Kessel officially breaks ironman streak, scores 400th career goal
Both contests featured strong third-period efforts. In fact, Vegas outscored Toronto and San Jose by a combined score of 5-0 in the final frame.
On the season, Vegas’ goal differentials by period are as follows:
The first period has been Vegas’ best; the Golden Knights are second in the NHL with 11 first-period tallies, and they have yielded a league-low two goals in the opening frame.
The second period has been Vegas’ worst offensively, as the Golden Knights have managed just five goals, good for 28th in the NHL.
Anaheim has lost six straight games after opening the season with a 5-4 overtime win against the Seattle Kraken.
The Ducks have struggled to score and have given up a lot of goals.
In fact, since that first game, the Ducks have scored a total of 11 goals and have given up 27. Needless to say, that’s not a recipe for success.
The first period has been the team’s best (-3), while the second period has been its worst (-8).
The Golden Knights have scored the first goal in six out of eight games, going 5-1-0 in those contests, and have come back to win in one of two games when trailing first.
Anaheim has scored first in three out of seven games, going 1-3-0 when taking an early lead and 0-3-1 when giving up the first goal.
Logan Thompson and Adin Hill are among the league leaders in save percentage and goals-against average. Among goalies with at least three starts, Hill has the fifth-best save percentage (.935), while Thompson is tied for seventh (.931).
In goals-against average, the two rank fourth and seventh, respectively, with Hill’s 2.00 slightly edging out Thompson’s 2.03.
Unlike the Golden Knights, the Ducks have not gotten adequate goaltending this season.
John Gibson, who is off to a rough start once again this year, is 1-4-1 with a 4.26 goals-against average and .893 save percentage. He has an all-time record of 3-14-5 against Vegas.
Between 2016 and 2019, Gibson saved 24.38, 32.86 and 26.9 goals above expected, respectively; between 2019-20 and 2021-22, those numbers plummeted to -9.92, -3.94 and -4.36. He’s currently sitting at -1.83, which is the seventh-worst total among goalies with at least five starts.
However, Gibson has faced 3.54 expected goals against per 60 and has made 9.45 high-danger saves per 60, both of which rank fifth among goalies with at least three starts.
Neither team has been particularly effective on special teams, though that was not the case for Anaheim in 2021-22. In fact, the Ducks ranked 14th on the power play (21.9 percent) and 10th on the penalty kill (80.8 percent).
This year, Anaheim has clicked on just two of its 22 power-play opportunities, which equates to an efficacy rate of 9.1 percent. Only Florida (8.1 percent), Montreal (4.2 percent) and Columbus (0 percent) have been worse. The Ducks’ penalty kill is operating at just 65.5 percent, good for 30th overall.
Vegas has been inconsistent.
On the year, Vegas is 20th on the man advantage (20 percent) and 25th on the penalty kill (75 percent).
The penalty kill has had two rough outings, including the game against Calgary in which Vegas took six penalties in the second period as well as the game against the Avalanche, who went 2-for-2 on the power play.
It’s not a coincidence that those are the only two games Vegas has lost this season.
The penalty kill has gone 4-for-4 over the last two games, however, while the power play has scored one goal on four chances.
Neither team has scored a short-handed goal this season.
Jonathan Marchessault has a team-high five goals in 2022-23, with Chandler Stephenson, Jack Eichel and William Karlsson sitting at three. Stephenson has points in four straight games and has scored all three of his goals in that time. He has benefited greatly from Bruce Cassidy’s line shuffling, as the top line of Stephenson, Eichel and Mark Stone has been effective since its first shift in the third period against Colorado.
Marchessault, Stephenson and Eichel all have a team-best seven points, while Stone and Shea Theodore have six. Theodore is the only Golden Knights defenseman with a goal this season (he has two).
Interestingly, Nicolas Roy leads the Golden Knights in power-play points with three.
For the Ducks, Troy Terry leads the way with nine points (four goals and five assists); he and Trevor Zegras have a team-high four goals. Only seven Ducks skaters have lit the lamp this season, while 14 have done so for Vegas.
Adam Henrique has scored seven goals and a team-high 13 points in the all-time series against Vegas, with noted Golden Knights killer Max Comtois in second with six goals and eight points (doing so in nine fewer games). Zegras has six points in four games to lead the way with a 1.50 points-per-game pace.
Stone has been the best player in the series, however, collecting 20 points (four goals and 16 assists) in 14 games. Marchessault and Karlsson have 19 and 18, respectively, while Stephenson has 13 points in 15 games and Alex Pietrangelo has nine in 11.
Note: Keegan Kolesar is sick and doubtful to play today.