Preview: Golden Knights take on Stars with chance to clinch Pacific Division title
The Vegas Golden Knights will take on the Dallas Stars for the third and final time in the regular season this afternoon at American Airlines Center.
The Golden Knights have three games remaining in the 2022-23 regular season and hold a three-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers and a six-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings, whom Vegas defeated 5-2 Thursday night.
The Golden Knights will be without their leading scorer, as Jack Eichel will not play this afternoon and is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, according to the team. It's unclear whether this is precautionary or if there is a real injury concern for Eichel, who is just three games away from his first taste of playoff hockey.
The Stars also may be without a top scorer, as Roope Hintz missed Dallas' most recent game and did not practice on Friday. He is a game-time decision.
Hintz is fourth on the team in scoring with 70 points in 69 games. Jason Robertson leads the way for Dallas with 103 points, while veteran Joe Pavelski is second with 75 points in 78 games. Jamie Benn is having a bounce-back campaign with 74 points in 78 games, and defenseman Miro Heiskanen has set a new career high with 69 points, just two shy of tying a Dallas record for points by a defenseman in a single season. For reference, Eichel, who leads Vegas in scoring, has 65 points.
Today's matchup will pit the Golden Knights against several familiar faces, including Pete DeBoer, Evgenii Dadonov and Colin Miller.
Dadonov was traded to Dallas at the deadline and has three goals and 13 points in 19 games with his new club. This will be his first game against his former team after the botched trade-deadline debacle from 2021-22.
Vegas is 8-3-2 in the all-time matchup against Dallas but has yet to defeat DeBoer and the Stars this season, going 0-1-1 in the previous two matchups. Dallas is 6-3-1 in its previous 10 games and trails Vegas by six points for the top seed in the Western Conference with a game in hand.
The Golden Knights have a chance to clinch their third Pacific Division title in six seasons. In order for that to happen, the Golden Knights must beat the Dallas Stars (in any fashion) AND the Oilers must lose to San Jose in regulation. But all Vegas needs to focus on is continuing to play the right way and accumulating as many points as possible in the final three games of the regular season.
Jonathan Quick/Laurent Brossoit: Brossoit has gotten four of the last five starts for Vegas and could be in line for another one today against the Stars. Brossoit is 5-0-3 with a 2.44 goals-against average and .921 save percentage, while Quick is 5-2-1 with a 3.43 goals-against average, .895 save percentage and one shutout.
Jake Oettinger: Oettinger will get the nod for Dallas this afternoon. He is 3-0-0 all-time against Vegas, posting a 1.27 goals-against average, .962 save percentage and one shutout. Oettinger has won four of his last five starts and is 34-11-11 with a 2.45 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and four shutouts this season.
Players to watch
Vegas 3: The Golden Knights' new-look third line exploded for three quick goals in the span of just 3:13 Thursday against the Kings. Chandler Stephenson looked like the dynamic player of old, and Ivan Barbashev was a perfect fit, with Phil Kessel skating on the other wing. The trio combined for seven points, with each player recording multi-point efforts (Barbashev and Kessel each had a goal and an assist, while Stephenson had a goal and two assists).
Jason Robertson: Robertson is having an exceptional season and has already topped 100 points, setting new career highs across the board with 45 goals and 58 points for 103 points. That includes four goals and 12 points in just his last four games. He is a threat every time he steps on the ice.
Pavel Dorofeyev – Nicolas Roy – Jonathan Marchessault
Reilly Smith – William Karlsson – Michael Amadio
Ivan Barbashev – Chandler Stephenson – Phil Kessel
Paul Cotter – Brett Howden – Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez – Alex Pietrangelo
Ben Hutton – Nicolas Hague
Brayden McNabb – Zach Whitecloud
Jason Robertson – Tyler Seguin – Joe Pavelski
Jamie Benn – Wyatt Johnston – Evgenii Dadonov
Max Domi – Ty Dellandrea – Joel Kiviranta
Frederik Olofsson – Radek Faksa – Luke Glendening
Miro Heiskanen – Ryan Suter
Esa Lindell – Jani Hakanpaa
Thomas Harley – Colin Miller
How to watch
Game 80: Golden Knights vs. Stars
When: 3:30 p.m. PT
Where: American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX
TV: ESPN+, ABC
Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM
Remaining regular season games
April 11 vs. Seattle
April 13 @ Seattle