Now that bizarre-o-world has wrapped up at Lake Tahoe, we can get back to business.
And for the Vegas Golden Knights, that calling has to do with trying to split this four-game series against the Colorado Avalanche. The series finale is Monday at Ball Arena, where the Golden Knights will also look to avoid losing their third consecutive game.
Saturday’s matchup at Edgewood Golf Course in Lake Tahoe had all the right ideas; the backdrop, the memories of yesteryear, and even two of the best teams in the league.
Unfortunately, a near-seven-hour delay due to ice conditions because of this giant thing in the sky called the sun did not help matters. The game picked up at 9 p.m., only for the now-full-strength Avalanche to win 3-2.
So after all the hoopla that happened over the weekend, this has become an important game for the Golden Knights.
Vegas is still atop the West Division in points percentage (.700) but the gap is narrowing. Colorado (.679) can take over first place with a win, which would end a nearly-month-long run atop the standings that included a three-game postponement due to COVID-19.
The Avalanche are the first good team the Golden Knights have played consistently; we’ve still yet to see them in a full slate against the St. Louis Blues. But while the Golden Knights have done a solid job matching the speed of Colorado, it’s been a story of one goal telling the difference. Vegas has lost consecutive 3-2 games to Colorado, both in different fashions; a game-winner from Nazem Kadri last Tuesday, and falling behind by two goals Saturday, only to make it a close game in the end.
Marc-Andre Fleury has been spectacular in these last three games (six goals allowed, including a shutout over a week ago), but the challenge is trying to get the offense going while trying to contain Nathan MacKinnon and co. Easier said than done.
Barring anything drastic, expect Fleury to get the start for the seventh straight game.
The Golden Knights let two important points get away from them Saturday to no fault of their own. There’s only so much of the sun you can contain from being a tiny human on Earth.
The game returns to the indoor arena, and a chance for the Golden Knights to right the ship and show the last two games that the sky has not been falling against one of the league’s best. They still have to do this four more times, ya know.
Golden Knights projected lineup
Max Pacioretty — Chandler Stephenson — Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault — William Karlsson — Reilly Smith
Keegan Kolesar — Cody Glass — Alex Tuch
William Carrier — Nicolas Roy — Ryan Reaves
Alec Martinez — Alex Pietrangelo
Nick Holden — Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague — Zach Whitecloud
How to watch
Time: 6 p.m.
TV: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, ESPN+, NHL.TV
Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM