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FSM Essential Preview: Golden Knights vs. Ducks – Game 17

Franchise Sports Media

 

 

The Vegas Golden Knights will head into Saturday evening’s game with an 11-4-1 record and 23 points in the standings, good for first place in the Honda West Division.

 

Golden Knights vs Ducks
Photo Credit: NHL

They will look to build upon that lead as they take on the Anaheim Ducks this evening, who sport a 6-10-4 record and a measly 16 points in the standings. The Anaheim Ducks have shown themselves to most likely be a bottom-tier team this season as they have had plenty of struggles lately, especially in their last two games. Their past couple of matchups saw them give up two three-goal leads in consecutive games, losing to the Coyotes both times in devastating fashion. As bad as they have been through, no one should ever expect an NHL team to simply roll over and give them an easy win.

Even though they lost their last two games in such a terrible way, they still managed to put three goals up in each matchup. This required the Coyotes to make multiple comebacks and eventually win both games in overtime. I think it is also safe to say that they will feel like they have something to prove to themselves and management on their home ice. While there are still no fans allowed in the Honda Center I expect the Ducks to attempt to come out with high energy as they look to stop the bleeding. A desperate team looking to punch up in the standings always leaves a risk for a “trap” game, so VGK would be wise to quash those hopes early on.

 

The Golden Knights responded exactly how you would want them to on Tuesday evening when they evened up their season series against the Avalanche. Can they continue to build momentum after having their Thursday night game against the Sharks postponed?

 

Golden Knights vs Ducks
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My bet is yes, they can and will, as VGK have performed very well against the Ducks in their short history as a franchise. Since entering the league in 2017, The Knights are 13-3 all-time against the Ducks. This is not terribly surprising to me as the Ducks have been a team in transition the past few years, trying to integrate some of their youth and find a new identity. Dallas Eakins has yet to coach the team for a full season as he was hired in June of 2019, with some already questioning if he is the right man for the job. This is not to say that the Knights should look past them but instead head into the game with full confidence in their ability to enforce their will against a lesser opponent.

 

It will be interesting to see if Coach Pete DeBoer sticks with the same lineup that he rolled out on Monday or if he makes some additional changes after such a dominating performance.

 

The lineup changes that saw Cody Glass assume the 2C sport and Alex Tuch get promoted to the first line worked well against Colorado, so why not ride the wave against the Ducks? Tuch’s speed allowed VGK to contain Nathan Mackinnon while scoring two goals, nearly getting a hat trick for the first time in his career. Shea Theodore was also paired with Alex Pietrangelo which seemed to improve his play as he did not look quite right since returning from injury. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” so I see no reason to switch up the lineup for now unless they start to struggle. Hopefully, the Knights can continue to build upon their momentum before heading home on Monday to play a surging Minnesota Wild team in front of their fans for the first time in about a year. It will be nice to watch a hockey game with actual fan noise instead of the pre-recorded audio we have had to listen to for what seems like forever.

 

The Vegas Golden Knights will resume play this evening taking on the Anaheim Ducks at The Honda Center in Southern California. The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. and will be on AT&T Sportsnet and FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9/1340.

 

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-D.J. Wood– Franchise Sports Media

Follow D.J. on Twitter @DJwoody97

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