GAME DAY: Golden Knights host division-leading Flames
The Golden Knights will try for their fifth straight win when they host the Calgary Flames on Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.
The Golden Knights will try to gain ground on the Pacific Division leaders when they host the Calgary Flames on Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.
Opening faceoff is 7:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain.
The Knights (36-26-5, 77 points), who have won four straight, trail first-place Calgary by 12 points with 15 games remaining.
“They’ve got a lot of talent on their hockey team. They remind me of us last year a little bit, to be honest with you,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “They don’t lose too many games, and they’re battling. … They’ve been consistent all year. They’re playing real well, and their top players are playing great.”
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will start for the Knights and is coming off back-to-back shutouts. The NHL’s First Star of the Week has not allowed a goal in 168:43, the longest scoreless streak of his career, and has stopped 76 of the past 77 shots he’s faced.
Fleury leads the NHL in shutouts (eight) and games played (56), and his 32 wins are tied with Toronto’s Frederik Andersen for the league lead.
With a victory, Fleury would tie Jacques Plante for eighth on the all-time list with 437 career wins.
Gallant said he will go with the same lineup from Sunday’s 3-0 win over Vancouver.
The Flames (41-18-7, 89 points) are coming off back-to-back home losses, including a 6-2 drubbing from Toronto on Monday. Calgary had not endured consecutive regulation losses since mid-November.
“They probably want to rebound after that, so we’ll have to match that intensity,” defenseman Deryk Engelland said. “Their power play’s extremely talented, so we’ve got to stay out of the box.”
Goaltender David Rittich is projected to start for Calgary after he suffered the loss against the Maple Leafs.
Left wing Johnny Gaudreau leads the Flames with 84 points, matching his career high. He is expected to be joined by center Sean Monahan (30 goals) and right wing Matthew Tkachuk on a new-look first line.
The Flames, who are fourth in the league in goals per game (3.55), are starting a back-to-back. The Flames are 7-0-0 in the first game of a back-to-back.
The Flames lead the Western Conference with 21 road victories and have recorded points in five straight away games (4-0-1).
Former Golden Knights wing James Neal (lower body) missed Calgary’s past nine games and is not expected to play.
The clubs meet twice in five days, with the season series wrapping up Sunday at Calgary.
“I think if we can get in on our forecheck — you don’t have to run the (defensemen) or anything, but get in their way because guys like (Mark Giordano) and (TJ Brodie) and those guys are going to jump in the play and be the fourth, fifth man all night long,” Engelland said. “If you can take a second off them, it gives the other guys a better chance.”
Golden Knights projected lineup
Max Pacioretty-Paul Stastny-Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault-William Karlsson-Reilly Smith
Brandon Pirri-Cody Eakin-Alex Tuch
Ryan Carpenter-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Ryan Reaves
Nate Schmidt-Deryk Engelland
Brayden McNabb-Shea Theodore
Jon Merrill-Colin Miller
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Contact David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.