3 things to watch for as the Golden Knights take on the Devils

Vegas heads to New Jersey against what could be a shorthanded opposition.

The Vegas Golden Knights will continue their eastern road trip tonight with a stop in New Jersey to take on the Devils. In their two meetings last year, the Golden Knights won one and lost the other, falling 8-3 for their biggest home loss of the season. This is the first time this season the two teams will meet, with their second meeting set just after the new year on Jan. 6. The Golden Knights are currently sitting in the first wild card spot in the Western Conference with a record of 18-14-1.

Meanwhile, the Devils are sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference with a 10-13-6 record and it might be a struggle tonight. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall (lower body) is a game-time decision.

All aboard the Flower train

Marc-Andre Fleury has now started in 11 straight games, and there’s nothing to suggest that he won’t be in the net again tonight. Many thought that Malcolm Subban would return to the crease last weekend when the Knights played a back-to-back, but Fleury was in net for both of those games. He’s on pace to play in a career-high number of games, and the veteran netminder has looked great over the streak. He’s gone 9-2-0, and has given Gerard Gallant no reason at this point to sit him for a game. With three back-to-backs for the Golden Knights between now and Jan. 1, Subban will surely make a return to the net in the near future.

It’s Stastny time

So, there’s some good news and some weird news.

Good news: 26 is back! Paul Stastny will return to the lineup tonight for the Golden Knights. He will play on the second line.

Weird news: Max Pacioretty is a ... healthy scratch? Per David Schoen of the Review-Journal, Gallant is going with Stastny as the center with Alex Tuch and Oscar Lindberg. There’s nothing wrong with Pacioretty, saying someone needs to be scratched.

This is some epic level trolling here.

One of the big additions this past summer, Stastny only appeared in three games for the Golden Knights before going down with an injury. He has yet to record a point as a member of the Knights. The only dilemma is where he would slot into the lineup — whether it be the second or third line. Stastny may need time to get back to speed and won’t be able to handle a ton of ice-time in his return

The return of the first line

The Vegas Golden Knights have won their last two games. The first line has scored the last two games. Coincidence? I think not.

They’ve struggled to find their consistency, but they may be coming together as 2019 approaches. Jonathan Marchessault has one goal in the last two games, William Karlsson has two goals and Reilly Smith has one goal and one assist.

If the first line can consistently chip in at least a goal a game, the Golden Knights will be in great shape from here on out. Fleury’s been holding it down in the net, the second line has been phenomenal, as has the fourth. With the return of Stastny, the lineup will come together even more and we’ll hopefully be able to roll out four elite lines that can threaten in the offensive zone. The Pacific Division is one of the hottest in the league right now thanks to the surging Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, and if the Knights want to keep up the top trio will need to be on their games.

How to watch

Time: 4 p.m. PT

TV: AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain, MSG Plus, NHL.TV

Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM