Golden Knights vs Islanders

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Excited fans will fill the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, Feb. 15 for a Golden Knights (29-22-8) team after an awesome 6-5 overtime victory over the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

 

Tonight, the Knights will be continuing a five-game home stretch against some of the best teams in the NHL, which will include Tampa Bay, Florida, and Washington. First, the Golden Knights will have to get over a stingy defensive New York Islanders (33-17-6) team who has found a groove in the last couple of weeks after having an unproductive 4-7 January. New York has gone 4-3 in February so far with an impressive 5-3 victory over a talented Washington squad this past Monday the 10th.

Defensively, New York’s team will come into the game, giving up an average of 2.75 goals per game. Those 154 goals scored against them this season has their defensive ranking at #6 in the NHL, but the team has had offensive struggles that cost them games in their January schedule.

The Golden Knights, however, after re-establishing themselves in the postseason conversation with their impressive come from behind win on Thursday, still have many questions that surround their team. The biggest is explicitly Vegas’s inability in recent games to lessen opponents’ point totals, even though the opposing team has fewer shots on goal. An issue that showed quickly in the last game with the Blues when in the first period, St. Louis had three goals on six total shots.

 

This problem has come up in every game the Knights have played thus far since their change in philosophy a month back after coach DeBoer was hired. Lapses in the defense at critical moments have bitten the Knights in games they needed to win.

 

For the Golden Knights to overcome the New York Islanders tonight, they have to find a way to play as inspired as they did in the game against St. Louis. Vegas will have to control the puck and see a way to get perennial all-star Mark Stone to take over the game once again. With complimentary players like Jonathan Marchessault, and Max Pacioretty also playing well over the course of the season, Vegas can overcome New York’s defensive play.

The Golden Knights will also be playing with star Goalie Mark-Andre Fluery in front of the net this week instead of Malcolm Subban, who is 8-7-3 this season. Although Subban, at the back end of the game, played well and made a lot of plays, the Knights need a more reliable defender to keep the puck out of their goal.

On the other side, New York will have to get its star player Mathew Barzal, who leads the Islanders in both assists and total points, into a rhythm. His a skillset over the course of the game can allow New York to find open lanes for shot opportunities. Barzal working in rhythm can exploit the very defensive weakness the Knights have displayed in their last two games.

This game leads the Knights into the final stretch of their roller-coaster season, and the next three games after tonight can make a compelling statement for the Golden Knights as a team. They can use the momentum from the Blues game and find a way to catch a much-needed win that can propel them deeper into the playoff conversation. They could also lose and stay marred in this postseason limbo position they’ve been flirting with for the last few months.

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 -JaRon Turner – Franchise Sports Media

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Vegas! If you want another great place to watch the game, head to Al’s Garage in Summerlin. There are multiple televisions to watch all the games. On the weekends Al’s has “Happy Hour” starting at 9 AM and ending at 9 PM. Al’s Garage is located at 11760 W. Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89135. Tell them, “The Franchise sent you!!”

 

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