With eye on Avalanche, Golden Knights try to focus on Ducks

NHL Hockey

With five games remaining before a showdown set of back-to-back games that could decide the West Division, the Vegas Golden Knights would be ill-advised to lose focus now.

The Golden Knights will become quite familiar with the Anaheim Ducks in advance of their highly anticipated set of games April 26 and 28 at home against the first-place Colorado Avalanche.

The Ducks and Golden Knights will meet each other three times in nine days, the first of which comes Friday at Anaheim, before Vegas eventually matches up with the division’s top team. Anaheim and Vegas play again in Southern California on Sunday afternoon, before another game at Anaheim on April 24.

The Golden Knights are on a well-timed hot streak with four consecutive victories and a 5-2-1 record going back to the start of the month. The only problem when it comes to their division-title hopes is that the Avalanche are one of the hottest teams in the NHL, with a 17-1-2 record going back to March 10.

The Golden Knights haven’t faced the Ducks since Feb. 27, but are 4-1-0 against them this season.

In an easy 6-2 victory on the road against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves to move him into fourth place on the NHL’s all-time wins list at 485.

“It’s fun to see a lot of different guys contribute, get some goals and feel good,” Fleury said of the Vegas offense. “The game is more relaxed, obviously, when we get all those goals. I knew (an offensive windfall) was going to come at some point, and I’m happy it worked out to get the win.”

Vegas has scored at least four goals in four of its last six games after reaching that total just once in the previous six contests.

The last-place Ducks will enter off consecutive victories over the San Jose Sharks, the most recent a 4-1 decision at San Jose on Wednesday when Derek Grant and Alexander Volkov each delivered a goal and an assist. Volkov has four goals and an assist in seven games since he was traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After making 46 saves in a 4-0 victory over the Sharks on Monday, Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz was given a second consecutive start and had another shutout within his grasp until San Jose scored with 2:16 remaining.

The Ducks have won three times over their past five games, with all three victories over the Sharks. But they are on an 0-4-1 run when facing a team other than San Jose.

“It’s in our blood no matter what the standings are to want to win,” Grant said. “Our year hasn’t been up to our standards, but you have to take strides and win as much as you can, especially down the stretch, and take steps toward next season because we don’t want to be in this position again.”

Defenseman Haydn Fleury played 18 minutes in his Ducks debut Wednesday after he was traded from the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.

–Field Level Media

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