Preview: Golden Knights host Predators in final game of 2022
The Golden Knights are coming off back-to-back road losses (0-1-1).
The Vegas Golden Knights will wrap up the 2022 portion of Year 6 this afternoon against the visiting Nashville Predators.
The Golden Knights are coming off their first back-to-back road losses of the season, most recently a disappointing 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks. The game featured the first Vegas goalie change of the year when Adin Hill was pulled after allowing two soft goals.
Golden Knights drop second half of back-to-back in 3-2 shootout loss to Ducks
The Golden Knights outshot Anaheim 51-27 but were unable to solve John Gibson, who made a season-high 49 saves. Notably, they failed to capitalize on a lengthy 5-on-3 and went 0-for-5 on the power play.
They will look to turn things around today when they square off against the Predators for the first time since March 24, 2022. In that contest, the Golden Knights scored three power-play goals in a 6-1 victory at home.
Vegas holds an all-time record of 7-5-0 against Nashville and went 2-1-0 in last year’s season series.
Considering how Hill played in Anaheim, Logan Thompson is the likely starter for today’s matinee. He made 22 saves on 22 shots in relief of Hill but went 0-for-2 in the shootout.
Nashville also is coming off a game against Anaheim, but the Predators scored six goals in a 6-1 blowout win. Nashville opened the scoring in the first, and the Ducks tied things up at 1-1 early in the second period; however, the Predators responded with five unanswered goals.
Impressively, 10 out of 12 forwards earned at least a point, which is consistent with how balanced Nashville’s scoring has been over the first few months of the season.
Filip Forsberg leads the way with 29 points, but Nino Niederreiter has a team-high 12 goals while defenseman Roman Josi has the most assists (19). Josi is second on the team in scoring with 27 points, while Matt Duchene has 26 (10-16—26). Mikael Granlund, Niederreiter and Ryan Johansen also have chipped in consistently with 21, 18 and 18 points, respectively.
One year after being a Vezina finalist, Juuse Saros has had a difficult start to the season with an extreme lack of goal support. His numbers have improved recently, and the Predators are starting to win more games, but Nashville is underperforming.
Nashville has averaged 2.59 goals per game; the only teams with lower averages are the Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks, who are 30th and 32nd in the standings, respectively.
Thanks in large part to Saros, the Predators are 14th in goals against, however, averaging just 2.97 per game.
But since Saros started last night in Anaheim, Kevin Lankinen could get the nod today in Sin City. Lankinen is 3-4-0 with a 2.64 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.
In the all-time matchup against Vegas, Forsberg has six goals and seven points in 10 games, while Josi has seven assists in 12. Five of Forsberg’s goals came last season; he scored at least one goal in all three contests.
Though he’s having somewhat of a down year and hasn’t been nearly as lethal as he was last season, he is one of the biggest threats Nashville will ice in today’s matchup. He has the ability to take over a game and has done so against Vegas, so the Golden Knights will have to make sure to keep him in check.
Special teams report
One reason Forsberg’s numbers don’t resemble last year’s breakout is the Predators’ lowly power play, which ranks 28th with a 16.5 percent success rate. The penalty kill has been average, coming in at 16th (78.2 percent).
The Golden Knights’ power play has been on the rise but let them down the other night against Anaheim as it went 0-for-5. Vegas also took five penalties; even if Nashville has struggled on the man-advantage, Vegas can’t afford to play with fire with players like Forsberg and Josi in the building.
Plus, the Predators’ power play is much better on the road, operating at 20.8 percent (compared to 13.4 percent at home).
Former Golden Knights draft pick Cody Glass will have his first crack at exacting revenge on his former team since getting dealt in 2021 in the three-way deal involving Nolan Patrick.
He had an emotional reaction to making the Predators out of camp this season.
Since then, he has played 24 games, scoring two goals and nine points. Though he has been a healthy scratch numerous times this season, he has improved his game and now centers the third line in a checking role.
He has been a strong two-way player this month and has five assists in his last five games.
How did the Preds keep Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in check tonight, according to John Hynes?— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) December 20, 2022
Great stuff here 👇 pic.twitter.com/egG9jl7QtG
Glass, selected sixth overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, recorded nine goals and 22 points in 66 games with Vegas.
Pavel Dorofeyev has been ruled out for today’s game after sustaining an undisclosed injury against the Ducks. Sheldon Rempal, recently recalled from the AHL Henderson Silver Knights, skated on the third line in yesterday’s practice and is expected to be in the lineup in his stead. Michael Amadio likely will be back on the top line with Chandler Stephenson and Mark Stone.
As of yesterday, Alec Martinez was not ruled out for today’s game; at the very least, that’s a good sign that his injury may not be long-term.
Though Paul Cotter and Jonathan Marchessault skated yesterday, both were sporting blue non-contact jerseys and are unlikely to play today. Bruce Cassidy said it’s possible they’ll play Monday in Colorado but more likely they will be ready for Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Michael Amadio — Chandler Stephenson — Mark Stone
Reilly Smith — William Karlsson — Phil Kessel
Jonas Rondbjerg — Jake Leschyshyn — Sheldon Rempal
William Carrier — Nicolas Roy — Keegan Kolesar
Nicolas Hague — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Daniil Miromanov
Ben Hutton — Brayden Pachal
Filip Forsberg — Juuso Parssinen — Colton Sissons
Yakov Trenin — Ryan Johansen — Matt Duchene
Nino Niederreiter — Cody Glass — Mikael Granlund
Cole Smith — Thomas Novak — Tanner Jeannot
Ryan McDonagh — Roman Josi
Mattias Ekholm — Alexandre Carrier
Jeremy Lauzon — Dante Fabbro