How to Watch: ATTSN-RM, BSSO, ESPN+
When: 3:00 PM EST
The Vegas Golden Knights will be looking to close out 2022 with a win. After falling to the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks on a short road trip to California, Vegas returns home to take on the Nashville Predators in a New Year’s Eve matinee. Vegas is 7-5 against Nashville all-time, with three of those wins coming at home in T-Mobile Arena.
Last Time Out
The Golden Knights’ last game was a heartbreaker, losing in the shootout after controlling the majority of play. Vegas outshot Anaheim 51-27, but were unable to beat goalie John Gibson to seal the win. Anaheim’s Adam Henrique scored twice early in the first period to put the Ducks ahead, causing Vegas head coach Bruce Cassidy to make his first goalie change of the season. He pulled Adin Hill after just 12:26, replacing him with Logan Thompson. Thompson was excellent from that point forward, making 22 saves to send the game to a shootout. Mark Stone and Ben Hutton were the goal-scorers for Vegas, with Stone netting a short-handed goal at the end of the first period, and Hutton knotting the game at two later in the second.
The Predators, on the other hand, are coming off of a blowout win against the same team, getting pucks past Gibson six times in a 6-1 win against the Ducks yesterday afternoon. Colton Sissons, Yakov Trenin, Filip Forsberg, Tommy Novak, Roman Josi, and Nino Niederreiter all found the back of the net to break a two-game losing streak for the Predators. Juuse Saros had 26 saves in net.
Vegas’ Keys to the Game
Vegas was without key pieces due to injury in the loss to the Ducks, and none are expected to return against the Predators. With the Golden Knights missing Alec Martinez, who was ruled day-to-day on December 29, as well as Jack Eichel, Shea Theodore, Jonathan Marchessault, and Paul Cotter, Vegas will be looking for contributions from unlikely sources. Look for rookies Jake Leschyshyn, Daniil Miromanov, Jonas Rondbjerg, and Brayden Pachal to try to make an impact. Vegas will also need production from their usual secondary scoring. William Carrier, Nicolas Roy, and Phil Kessel will all need to step up in the absence of Eichel and Marchessault.
A quick start will be key to the game for both teams. The Vegas Golden Knights have scored first in 23 games this season and have won 19 of those 23 games, tied for first in the league. Nashville has also been quick off the jump, scoring first in 21 of their 34 games played. However, they’ve only managed to hang onto the win twelve times. It will be important for Vegas to get on the board first and maintain the pressure.
Revenge Game for Cody Glass
Nashville is expected to play with a full lineup, and Saturday’s game will mark former Golden Knight Cody Glass’ return to Vegas. Glass was traded to Nashville in 2021 as part of a three-way deal between Vegas, Nashville, and the Philadelphia Flyers that sent Nolan Patrick to Vegas. Glass struggled last season, spending a stint with the Nashville AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, but returned to the NHL lineup this season, with two goals and seven assists so far. Glass will be looking to have a revenge game against a Vegas team that never quite figured out how to best manage him.
The Golden Knights have had a successful 2022, but will want to close out the year on a strong note. With key players out, Vegas will have to rely on secondary scoring and a quick start in order to end 2022 the way that they would like.