Eager to finally play somebody else, the Vegas Golden Knights will hit the road Saturday night to meet the Anaheim Ducks.
The Golden Knights are coming off four consecutive games against the Colorado Avalanche, a run that included an all-day outdoor game, but they have not taken the ice since Monday after a game Thursday was postponed because of a COVID-19 concern among the San Jose Sharks.
Vegas is 11-4-1 and atop the West Division, but went just 2-2-0 against the Avalanche, including the Feb. 20 defeat 3-2 outdoors at Lake Tahoe in a game that started in sunshine, was paused after one period because of poor ice conditions, and resumed eight hours later under the lights.
The Golden Knights enter Saturday off a 3-0 victory at Colorado on Monday when Alex Tuch scored a pair of second-period goals and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves for his 64th career shutout.
One of those saves was destined for the highlight reel after Fleury shifted to the left side of goal, stacked his pads and used his left arm in a windmill motion to protect the rest of the net, redirecting a shot from Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon.
“I always love a two-pad stack once in a while,” Fleury said. “It’s always fun, especially when you stop it.”
The four-day layoff gave Vegas a chance to conduct three practices this week, although one was spent focused on the Sharks.
“For sure it’s a luxury, but the flip side of that is we’re going to pay the bill for this at a later point with them jamming our schedule with makeup games,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “A coach is never going to complain about practice time. I loved our game (Monday), and when you play a game like that you want to get out there and play as quickly as possible.”
The Ducks also would like to get back on the ice, but for different reasons. They need to distance themselves from a pair of defeats to the Arizona Coyotes this week when they failed to protect three-goal leads in each.
The most recent came Wednesday when the Coyotes scored three times — all after the 10-minute mark of the third period. The Ducks at least earned a point in that one as Arizona won it in a shootout.
“We can’t do that,” said the Ducks’ Max Jones, who scored a goal in each game at Arizona. “We can’t accept that. We’ve got to do our best to stay positive, but it’s tough. We’re playing the right way, but it’s just not for the full 60 minutes. … We can’t get complacent like that again. We sat back and watched.”
The games at Arizona marked the debut of highly-regarded Ducks prospect Trevor Zegras. The 19-year-old played 13 minutes on Monday, followed by 15 minutes on Wednesday. He did not record a point but took a pair of shots in each game.
The Ducks and Golden Knights originally were set to face each other Friday as well, but a schedule change earlier this month moved that game to April.
–Field Level Media