What to watch as the Golden Knights play host to the Coyotes
Vegas looks to inch closer to clinching a division title while Arizona looks to edge closer to Rasmus Dahlin.
The Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights (48-21-7) welcome the Arizona Coyotes to town as they attempt to put further distance between themselves and the pack for the division lead.
Entering play, the Golden Knights have a five-point lead over the second place San Jose Sharks with one game in hand and just six to play. A win tonight puts the Knights just three points away from clinching the Pacific, thus setting another record for expansion team success.
The Coyotes, on the other hand, are in a race of their own.
With 63 points the Coyotes sit tied for the second worst record in the league, and thus the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes. The difference between finishing with the second worst and third worst record in terms of the Draft Lottery odds is two percent (13.5 to 11.5), which is not a insignificant amount in the grand scheme of an organization’s future.
Leading the way for the Coyotes are rookie Clayton Keller, the early-season leader in the Calder race, who has 23 goals and 61 points in his rookie season in Glendale.
Offseason acquisition Derek Stepan, traded from the New York Rangers in June along with goalie Antti Raanta in exchange for the seventh overall pick and Anthony DeAngelo, has been everything the team could have reasonably expected with 13 goals and 53 points — exactly in line with his previous four seasons of 55, 53, 55, and 57-point production.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson has had a bit of a rough season this year on the blueline for the Yotes. While his point production has been solid enough (39 points so far), his minus-33 rating is a bit of an eyesore as the league’s second-worst total (ahead of only Nick Leddy of the Islanders).
Meanwhile, Max Domi has failed to take the step forward the team might have hoped for following 52 points in his rookie season and 38 in just 59 games in 2016-17, having scored just eight goals in the 2017-18 campaign with only 37 points.
In goal, Raanta has been stellar for Arizona this season when healthy. He’s put up a .927 save percentage in 43 games for the team and looks to be a solid starting option for the team going forward.
The problem? The other goalies.
Scott Wedgewood, Darcy Kuemper, Adin Hill, Marek Langhamer and Louis Domingue have combined for 40 games played, 34 starts, and an .888 SV%. Not exactly Golden Knights-level backup goalie play.
The Golden Knights can’t clinch anything in terms of the standings tonight so let’s update some of the seasonal milestones the players are gunning for.
Jonathan Marchassault is five goals from his second consecutive 30-goal campaign with six games remaining. Thank you, Dale Tallon. We appreciate everything you’ve done for the Golden Knights.
William Karlsson is one point away from 70 points on the campaign, meaning he currently has 69 points on the season. Very nice.
Erik Haula is two goals shy of 30 on the season. He’s already managed a career-high in goals, assists and points. He’s also five games shy of tying his career high of 76 games played.
Tomas Tatar is one goal shy of 20 on the season, which would make it his fourth consecutive 20-goal campaign.
On the back-end, Colin Miller is a single point from his first career 40-point season while Nate Schmidt sits five points back of the same mark. Schmidt is also about to set a career high in games played at 73 tonight. Finally, Deryk Engelland’s next goal will tie his career-high mark of six.
How to Watch
Time: 7PM PT
Networks: ATTSN-RM, FS-A PLUS