Preview: Golden Knights square off against Ducks in final road game of 2022
Vegas will look to improve on its 14-3-1 road record this season.
The Vegas Golden Knights (24-12-1) will face the Anaheim Ducks (9-22-4) for the second time this season as Vegas wraps up this two-game back-to-back set on the road.
Vegas suffered a 4-2 loss last night in Los Angeles but will look to go 1-1-0 with a win tonight against another division rival.
Last night’s loss was Vegas’ third regulation road loss of the season and fourth road loss of any kind. The Golden Knights remain the best road team in the NHL at 14-3-1.
Golden Knights lose 4-2 to Kings for third regulation road loss of season
Though the Kings gained ground in the Pacific Division standings, the Golden Knights still lead the way with 49 points.
Vegas has more than twice as many points as the Ducks, who are in eighth place in the division with just 22 points in 35 games.
Vegas has dominated Anaheim over the years, winning 21 of 25 meetings.
The Golden Knights delivered a 4-0 victory when these teams met in late October in the Nevada Day matinee; at the time, the win brought the Golden Knights to 7-2-0 on the season and was the third victory in their nine-game winning streak. Vegas scored a power-play goal and a shorthanded goal to hand Anaheim its seventh straight loss.
Coming into tonight’s matchup, the Golden Knights have lost three of their last five games and have gone 5-5-0 over their last 10.
Anaheim has gone 3-6-1 in its last 10 games and is 3-7-2 in December. The Ducks are averaging 2.31 goals per game, which beats only Chicago’s 2.27, and have surrendered more goals than any other team in the league, averaging 4.11 per game. The power play ranks 28th at 17 percent, while the penalty kill is 30th, operating at a measly 69.5 percent.
Anaheim has an overall goal differential of -63.
Needless to say, the Ducks have struggled on both sides of the puck thus far in 2022-23.
Troy Terry leads the team in goals (12), assists (17) and points (29), while young phenom Trevor Zegras has just 10 goals and 25 points. Terry is on pace for a respectable 28 goals, but it has been an underwhelming follow-up to his career season last year in which he lit the lamp 37 times and recorded 67 points in 75 games. Zegras has not taken the next step as expected, but he remains one of the more dynamic players in the game.
Despite a rocky start, Mason McTavish has shown great improvement as the season has progressed. He has goals in back-to-back games and six points in his last five games, and he has reinserted himself into the Calder discussion with 20 points (tied for third among rookies). He leads the Ducks with nine power-play points.
It has been a disappointing start for Anaheim across the board, which includes some of the offseason additions like defenseman John Klingberg. Klingberg was brought in to contribute offensively and add value as a trade chip at the deadline but has four goals — three of which have come in the last five games — and 11 points in 28 games.
Just three of his 11 points have come on the man-advantage, and he has a team-worst minus-21 rating. Ryan Strome, also signed in the offseason, has the second-worst rating (minus-14) but is fourth on the team in scoring (18 points). Not one player on the active roster has a positive rating; Adam Henrique (0) is the only player not in the red.
Zegras leads the Ducks with 1.20 points per game (two goals and six points in five contests) in the all-time series against Vegas, while Henrique has a team-best seven goals and 13 points in 23 games. Noted Golden Knights killer Max Comtois has six goals and eight points in 14 games.
The Ducks have used three goaltenders this year: John Gibson (22 starts), Anthony Stolarz (seven starts) and Lukas Dostal (six starts), who has nine career NHL starts.
However, with Gibson and Stolarz both out of commission, Dostal has gotten six of the last seven starts. The 22-year-old is 2-3-1 and has a 3.53 goals-against average and .909 save percentage, both of which are the best among the three netminders. He also is the only one who has a positive goals saved above expected (4.75), which ranks 24th overall.
For reference, Logan Thompson has a -0.01 GSAx, while Adin Hill — tonight’s likely starter in the second half of the back-to-back — sits at -1.32.
Hill lost his most recent start — a 3-2 game against Buffalo — but has won three of his last four games; he is 8-3-1 with a 2.66 goals-against average (the same as Thompson) and a .903 save percentage in 12 starts. Hill is 4-0-1 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .919 save percentage all-time against Anaheim.
These clubs will meet for a third time on Feb. 12 to conclude the season series. Vegas has one additional game in this calendar year, a Dec. 31 afternoon tilt against Nashville.
Michael Amadio — Chandler Stephenson — Mark Stone
Reilly Smith — William Karlsson — Phil Kessel
Jonas Rondbjerg — Jake Leschyshyn — Pavel Dorofeyev
William Carrier — Nicolas Roy — Keegan Kolesar
Nicolas Hague — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Daniil Miromanov
Ben Hutton — Brayden Pachal
Adam Henrique — Trevor Zegras — Troy Terry
Max Comtois — Ryan Strome — Jakob Silfverberg
Frank Vatrano — Mason McTavish — Brett Leason
Justin Kirkland — Sam Carrick — Jayson Megna
Cam Fowler — Dmitry Kulikov
Simon Benoit — John Klingberg
Nathan Beaulieu — Kevin Shattenkirk
Olle Eriksson Ek
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