In a Pacific Divison matineé, the Vegas Golden Knights travel to Los Angeles to play the Kings at the Staples Center, with a 1pm start time.
Vegas has been hot lately, fresh off a home wins on Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals and Thursday night over the Chicago Blackhawks. Beating the Capitals was huge for the Golden Knights as they look to continue their climb in the Pacific Division standings. They are on the verge of erasing the stink of a less-than-stellar first 20 games of the season, without star defensman Nate Schmidt.
Tuesday night’s game against the Capitals was a memorable one. The hit heard around the world is still having ramifications for the Golden Knights and Ryan Reaves. Reaves’ late hit on notorious dirty player, Tom Wilson, has garnered tons of negative attention, punctuated by Reaves autographing photos of Wilson on the ice, concussed. In a key win against Washington, the story should have been Schmidt’s game-winner, yet the Knights are left with a PR nightmare in the aftermath of their 5-3 win.
Thursday’s game against the Blackhawks was much more competitive than their 8-3 domination in Chicago in their previous match up. The Golden Knights tied the game at three and got the lead thanks to Jonathan Marchessault and Alex Tuch goals, separated by 12 seconds in the third period. Tuch’s goal went down as the game winner with no additional scoring in the last 12 minutes of the game.
Their afternoon hosts, the Los Angeles Kings, have lost four out of their last five games, including losses in their last two against the New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes. Los Angeles is led in scoring by former captain Dustin Brown (8 goals), points by Anze Kopitar (18), and anchored on the blue line by Drew Doughty. Returning way earlier than originally anticipated, all-star goalie Jonathan Quick holds down the work between the pipes. Quick shut out Carolina in his second game back from injury, but has had mixed results in his other three games of action.
Vegas will see a familiar face in this one, with newly acquired Brendan Leipsic suiting up for the Kings. An original Golden Knights, Leipsic was placed on waivers by the Vancouver Canucks and claimed by LA last week. Leipsic tallied his first goal as a King and third of the season on Thursday against the Devils. As many of you will remember, he has blazing speed. Vegas will need to account for his wheels.
LA has racked up a decent amount of injuries thus far and remain without UFA signing Ilya Kovalchuk, trade acquisition Carl Hagelin, center Trevor Lewis, and backup goaltender Jack Campbell. Vegas is still missing centers Erik Haula and Paul Stastny, the latter taking the practice ice this week with a no-contact jersey. It would seem that Stastny is getting closer to a return, while Haula’s injury is being kept close to the chest by the VGK brass.
Today’s game is a division battle between two playoff teams from 2017-18 that aren’t having the seasons they expected. While Vegas is surging, LA is floundering. Vegas’ sweeping of LA in last year’s playoffs should provide motivation for the Kings, but Vegas’ skill, speed, and depth will be too much to handle, not to mention Marc-Andre Fleury, who will be in net for the Golden Knights. With a game tomorrow night in Vegas against the stars, we may finally see backup Malcolm Subban get his first work since a seven-goal game against the Calgary Flames.
Today’s game will be broadcast on AT&T Sportsnet and Fox Sports Radio 98.9 FM.
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