Two teams off to unbeaten starts meet Tuesday night in an early Pacific Division showdown when the Vegas Golden Knights visit the Calgary Flames.
Vegas, which missed the playoffs for the first time in the franchise’s five-year history last season, is a perfect 3-0-0 under new head coach Bruce Cassidy and is the early leader in the Pacific with six points. The Golden Knights sandwiched a 1-0 home win over Chicago with a 4-3 season-opening victory at Los Angeles and a 5-2 win at Seattle.
Calgary, which won the Pacific with 111 points last season, opened the season with a 5-3 victory over defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado and followed with an emotional 4-3 win over Edmonton in the Battle of Alberta on Saturday.
Tuesday’s contest kicks off an eight-game homestand for the Flames, who don’t play another road contest until Nov. 7 against the New York Islanders.
“It’s good to be home,” Flames center Elias Lindholm said. “Last year we had a good home record (25-9-7) and so we want to be playing the same way here this year again and get some energy from the fans. We want to be a hard team to play against here, so hopefully we can put up some good games and put ourselves in a good spot.”
Lindholm was asked if he felt there was any added pressure on the Flames to capitalize on the eight-game homestand.
“No, not really,” he said. “I think we take it game by game. We put ourselves in a good spot the first two games. Obviously (Tuesday) is going to be a good test for us again, playing a division game and it’s going to be tight. … I would be more worried if we were 0-2 right now.”
Vegas won two of the three meetings last season, including a 6-1 victory at Calgary in the last meeting on April 14 behind 35 saves by Calgary native Logan Thompson, who is expected to be back in net on Tuesday night.
Thompson picked up his second career shutout with a 27-save performance against Chicago. Backup Adin Hill followed that up with an impressive 31-save effort in Saturday’s win in Seattle. He blanked the Kraken for the first 53 minutes before allowing late goals to Justin Schultz and Jaden Schwartz.
“I think it’s good for the guys to taste success early,” Cassidy said. “I think everyone is chasing that early in the year. You don’t want to be behind. I think we were full value. I didn’t think our starts in L.A. and home against Chicago the other night were great. They weren’t bad. Put the other team on their heels and we were able to score early. That always helps.”
Keegan Kolesar scored 12 seconds into the win against the Kraken and Jonathan Marchessault added two goals for Vegas, which led 5-0 after two periods.
“This is a good start for us right now,” Kolesar said. “We still think we can play a lot better than what we did. A couple of breakdowns at the end there gave up some goals. But for us things are looking in the right direction.”
–Field Level Media