WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The Golden Knights and Jets face off for the first time since the Western Conference Final on Tuesday at Bell MTS Place.
Opening faceoff is 5 p.m. Pacific time, and the game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain.
The Knights defeated Winnipeg in five games in May to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
“It’s two good hockey teams playing against each other, so there’s nothing more than that for me,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “It’s two points. You’re playing against a real good team, and if you don’t play well, you’re going to lose.”
The Knights (28-16-4, 60 points) have won eight of their past nine games, including Saturday’s 4-3 overtime victory at Chicago when they never held the lead until Shea Theodore’s winner.
Right wing Alex Tuch has points in nine straight games (3-8-11), setting a franchise record. He tops the Knights with 37 points and 22 assists, and shares the lead in goals (15) with William Karlsson.
Tuch’s goal and assist total match his output in 78 games as a rookie.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is in line to make his fourth straight start. He continues to lead the league in victories (26), shutouts (6) and appearances (41), and is ninth in goals-against average at 2.49.
The Knights are expected to use the same lineup from Saturday’s game to close out the two-game road trip.
Winnipeg (29-14-2, 60 points) also comes in hot with victories in four of its past five. The Jets have won four straight at home and are 17-6-2 at Bell MTS Place, the second most wins at home in the NHL.
Backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit will get the starting nod in place of Connor Hellebuyck. Brossoit is 9-1-1 with a .930 save percentage and has won his past six starts.
Defenseman Tyler Myers is expected to return to the Winnipeg lineup after missing the past two games. He replaces Ben Chiarot, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
The Jets own the best power play at home in the league at 36.5 percent, and their 27 power-play goals at home also ranks first.
“It’s a team that goes really fast, especially in the beginning of the game, and they have one of the best power plays in the league,” center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said. “Those couple things, you have to be checked in before the start of the game to make sure that you give your 100 percent right away, otherwise you’re going to be hooking and not skating enough and killing (penalties) the whole first period.
“It’s really one of those things where you have to be really, really ready when the puck drops.”
All-Star left wing Blake Wheeler , who has goals in back-to-back games for the first time this season, leads the Jets with 58 points. He needs one more assist to reach 50 assists for the second consecutive season and third time in the past four.
Mark Scheifele (2-5—7), Bryan Little (4-3—7) and Brandon Tanev (2-3—5) have points in five consecutive games. Scheifele will join Wheeler at the All-Star Game.
The Jets are 9-3-1 against the Pacific Division.
It’s always fun I think, two of the top teams here going at it. Both teams playing well,” said Knights center Paul Stastny, who played for the Jets last season. “It’s always a good measuring stick when you play either — I guess the last couple years — them or Nashville in the Central Division.”
Golden Knights projected lineup
Jonathan Marchessault-William Karlsson-Brandon Pirri
Max Pacioretty-Paul Stastny-Alex Tuch
Oscar Lindberg-Cody Eakin-Ryan Carpenter
Tomas Nosek-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Ryan Reaves
Brayden McNabb-Nate Schmidt
Shea Theodore-Deryk Engelland
Jon Merrill-Nick Holden