Two division leaders will square off Wednesday night when the Metropolitan Division-best Carolina Hurricanes face the Pacific Division’s Vegas Golden Knights in Las Vegas.
Carolina, which has 10 more points in the standings than the Golden Knights, has lost just four times in regulation in 28 road games (18-4-6) and is 8-2-0 in its last 10 games overall.
But the Hurricanes had a five-game winning streak snapped on Saturday with a 3-2 home loss to Anaheim despite finishing with 90 shot attempts and an eye-popping 53-16 edge in shots on goal. John Gibson made 51 saves for the Ducks.
“If we played that game 10 times, you’re going to win nine of them,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “This was the one (and) that’s unfortunate. We gave up some chances but you’ve got to give up some in a game.
“Their goalie was good. Pretty much everybody had a chance. There was a bunch of great opportunities. Just didn’t put it in. It’s just the way it went.”
Carolina added forward Jesse Puljujarvi in a trade with Edmonton for prospect Patrik Puistola just before departing on the trip out west Tuesday morning.
Puljujarvi, who had five goals and nine assists in 58 games with the Oilers, was the No. 4 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft after starring on a line with Carolina center Sebastian Aho and Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine for a Finland team that won the 2016 World Junior Championship.
“Everyone knows that he has that upside in him,” Aho said. “Hopefully we can get him to his full potential here.”
According to the Raleigh News & Observer, it is unclear when Puljujarvi will join the team. He still has to apply for and be granted a visa to work in the United States since he’s Finnish and had been in Canada.
The Carolina game begins a brutal eight-game stretch for the Golden Knights, who will play four games against teams with more points than they have. The final five games are on the road, including stops at Tampa Bay and Carolina.
Vegas had a nine-game point streak snapped on Monday night with a 3-0 loss at Colorado, just the second time this season the Golden Knights have been shut out. Alexandar Georgiev finished with 31 saves for the Avalanche.
Mikko Rantanen scored his first of two goals just 14 seconds into the game when Vegas goalie Adin Hill, trying to clear the puck from the end boards, instead passed the puck right to him and Rantanen quickly fired it into an open net.
“They checked us really well,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We weren’t hard enough on pucks in the (offensive) zone, so I give them a lot of credit for that. … We obviously spot them a goal. That never helps.
“A team like Carolina is going to play similar, right? They’re in your face. They close quick. Man-to-man. Listen, if you want to score goals in this league you have to separate and be hard on it or you’ve got to execute at a high level. Tonight we did not do that. That was very evident.”
–Field Level Media