How To Watch: ATTSN-RM, , Bally Sports Detroit, ESPN+
When: 7:00 PM Eastern
The Vegas Golden Knights are officially in a slump. With three losses in their last four games, and their only win coming after an intense seven-round shootout, the team is struggling to close out games to secure the points needed to hold the number one spot in the Pacific division. The Golden Knights will seek to right the ship tonight against the Detroit Red Wings, who enter the contest with a 11-6-5 record. Vegas is 3-3-1 against Detroit all time.
Game Preview: Vegas vs Detroit
Vegas is coming off of a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday that saw the Golden Knights give up fifteen high-danger chances, allowing the Penguins to claw their way back into a game that the Golden Knights once led 2-0. The Golden Knights held the upper hand in the first period, with two goals from Jack Eichel and Reilly Smith. The Penguins came back to tie the game in the second period with goals from Brock McGinn and Rickard Rakell. Vegas again led after a power-play goal from Shea Theodore in the second minute of the third period, but goals from Jake Guentzel and Kasperi Kapanen put the Penguins ahead, and Pittsburgh was able to hold on for the win. Although it ultimately ended in a loss, there were some bright spots for the Knights that they will look to capitalize on tonight against the Red Wings.
Key Points for Vegas
The power-play was a surprising highlight for the Golden Knights, with two goals coming while Vegas was man-up. Reilly Smith was able to put one home on a back-door cut at the end of the first period, and Shea Theodore had one of his patented bullets from the blue line in the third. The team has five power-play goals in their last ten games, and 16 on the season. The power-play is currently operating at 21.9%, up about four points from the dismal 18.4% of last season. The power play is still ranked 17th in the league, but new coach Bruce Cassidy seems to have breathed at least a tiny bit of life in the Vegas special teams, and the Golden Knights will want for this trend to continue.
Another key to the Golden Knights’ game will be offensive production from their defensemen. Through 25 games in the 2021-22 season, the Vegas blue line had fifteen goals and 66 points. This season, only nine goals have been scored by defensemen, and seven of those have come from either Alex Pietrangelo or Shea Theodore. The Golden Knights need more production from players like Alec Martinez and Brayden McNabb, both of whom have yet to score this season. With Pietrangelo still out of the lineup, Vegas is turning to its junior talent to attempt to fill his shoes. Daniil Miromanov was called up from the Henderson Silver Knights prior to the game in Pittsburgh, and will appear in his first game with the Golden Knights this season against Detroit. The 6’4” defenseman is a big physical presence, and has six goals through 17 games in Henderson this season. Expect him to be a player to watch tonight, as he attempts to prove himself in an NHL lineup.
Key Points for Detroit
The Red Wings are also looking to rebound after an OT loss to the Buffalo Sabres on November 30th. The Red Wings erased a three-goal third period deficit, but weren’t able to close out the comeback in overtime. The Red Wings will be without forward Tyler Bertuzzi, who was placed on IR after sustaining a left hand injury in the game against Buffalo. Detroit will look to players like Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Larkin, and David Perron to replace Bertuzzi’s offensive production. Vegas will want to keep an especially close eye on Perron, as the former Golden Knight has six goals and 14 points all time against Vegas.