UPDATED: 2 P.M.
|VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS|
10–7–0 (20 points; .588%)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
10 P.M. – SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
BALLY SPORTS OHIO
It's always a show in Vegas, and the Columbus Blue Jackets will look to again play the part of the cardiac kids when they take on the Golden Knights from the T-Mobile Arena for a 10 P.M. Saturday puck drop.
The Blue Jackets began a three-game road trip Thursday in Glendale, Arizona with a 5-4 victory in a seven-round shootout over the Coyotes. It was the 6th time in the last seven games that Columbus was in a tie game in the third period, and the third to go to overtime during that stretch.
The game will be the Blue Jackets first 10 P.M. or later start since March 8th, 2020 — Columbus' final game before the NHL put the season on pause due to COVID-19.
|BLUE JACKETS||GOLDEN KNIGHTS|
|BLUE JACKETS||GOLDEN KNIGHTS|
|37.3%||MONEYPUCK'S ODDS TO WIN||62.7%|
|32.0%||THE 538'S ODDS TO WIN||68.0%|
|22.1%||MONEYPUCK'S PLAYOFF ODDS||57.0%|
|27.0%||THE 538'S PLAYOFF ODDS||85.0%|
|105.4||82 GAME POINT PACE||96.5|
Know the Foe
After a 1-4-0 start to the season, the Golden Knights are getting into the groove most expected them to be in for the duration of the season. One of the Cup favorites prior to the start of the year, Vegas has now won four of their last five — despite a barrage of injuries and health protocols.
Former Blue Jacket William Karlsson is due back after Thanksgiving from a broken foot, and forward Max Pacioretty is scheduled to return around the same time after an undisclosed injury in the second game of the season. Veteran defensemen Alec Martinez and Shea Theodore hit injured reserve this week. Martinez is out indefinitely and Theodore is day-to-day, though unlikely to draw in Saturday. Michael Amadio, William Carrier, and another former Blue Jacket — Jonathan Marchessault — were all out Thursday due to COVID-19 protocols, and like Theodore, are unlikely to return to the lineup against Columbus.
Nowhere have the injuries hurt more than on special teams, where the Golden Knights rank 29th in the league on power play conversions and 19th on the penalty kill.
Of the healthy few remaining for Vegas, the biggest surprise this season has been former Washington Capital Chandler Stephenson. The center has five goals and 11 assists in 17 games, and already has five multi-point nights. Veteran netminder Robin Lehner has been consistent as well, with a .917 save percentage and 2.87 goals against average in his 14 starts.
THAT OFFENSE, THOUGH!: It's not a mirage — the Blue Jackets offense really is on a heater. They've scored at least three goals in seven straight games, which is their longest such streak since the 2016-17 season when they accomplished that feat in 11 straight games. Those 11 games were all wins, and the first 11 of the Blue Jackets historic 16-game winning streak. Columbus started the streak with a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 29th, 2016. Can Columbus make it eight straight against a Golden Knights team that averages giving up just over three goals (3.06) per game?
THAT DEFNESE, THOUGH...: In all but one of those seven games with at least three goals scored, the Blue Jackets have also allowed at least three to the opposition. Due to the struggles of last season, that's happened far more recently: Columbus gave up at least three in nine straight games back in April, going 0-7-2 in that brutal stretch.
In their recent starts, both Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo have been good, but not great. As often as the Blue Jackets defense has left them out to dry, they've needed to be great. Can the Blue Jackets blue line avoid turnovers and improve clearing the puck against a hobbled Vegas offense?
ALL FOUR LINES: Far different than in years past is the balance of the Blue Jackets scoring. Every player in the lineup was on the ice for at least ten minutes Thursday, and the player who saw the least time — 28-year-old rookie Justin Danforth at 10:13 — was one of three Columbus players to score. The scoring contributions have come from everywhere this season, and the balanced attack has proven a success thus far for Columbus. Which line will provide that scoring "oomph" Saturday?
LW C RW 59 Yegor Chinakhov 34 Cole Sillinger 93 Jakub Voracek 14 Gustav Nyquist 38 Boone Jenner 28 Oliver Bjorkstrand 50 Eric Robinson 7 Sean Kuraly 42 Alexandre Texier 16 Max Domi 96 Jack Roslovic 17 Justin Danforth LD RD 8 Zach Werenski 22 Jake Bean 44 Vladislav Gavrikov 27 Adam Boqvist 5 Gavin Bayreuther 2 Andrew Peeke Starting Goalie Backup 90 Elvis Merzlikins 70 Joonas Korpisalo
*subject to change