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HockeyLady

Blue Jackets At Golden Knights: 3 Keys To The Game

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It was fun while it lasted, right?

The Golden Knights sat atop the NHL with 66 points for about 24 hours following Sunday's 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, until the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 on Monday. The Lightning currently lead the NHL with 67 points and face the Nashville Predators this evening, although the Golden Knights' focus is on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Vegas' focus is also on its return to home ice. The Golden Knights meet the Blue Jackets tonight and New York Islanders on Thursday before heading into the All-Star Break, from which they'll return from to embark on a six-game road trip.

Tonight's game against the Blue Jackets starts at 7:00 PM. Here are three keys to tonight's game.

 

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VGK Practice: Gallant

 

  • 06:16 • January 22nd, 2018

 

 

1. Mess With Bobrovsky's Vision

On a normal night, the recipe of keeping it simple and getting pucks to the net is pretty effective in the NHL. Against the Blue Jackets, a better effort is often needed to beat goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

Bobrsovsky, a 29-year-old, Russian, is the NHL's reigning Vezina Trophy winner as the league's best goalie. He also won the award in 2012-13, and is unquestionably the Blue Jackets' MVP.

Although Bobrovsky's 2.44 goals-against average and .920 save percentage this season are a bit below his normal standards, he's still accomplished enough that simply throwing pucks at the net is often not good enough. Bobrovsky easily gobbles up low percentage shots, and pretty much anything that he can see.

Can the Golden Knights get bodies in front of Bobrovsky? Can they get him moving side-to-side?

Only two of Vegas' five goals against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday would have been of "this" variety. It will be up to the Golden Knights to offensively step it up a notch to deal with Columbus' goalie.

 

 

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VGK Practice: Schmidt

 

  • 02:37 • January 22nd, 2018

 

 

2. What Does Vegas' Power Play Do?

One of the most promising aspects of Vegas' 5-1 win over Carolina on Sunday was its two power-play goals. This came after the Golden Knights hadn't scored on the man advantage since January 2, which had been a topic of conversation around the team for nearly three straight weeks.

Can this be a factor against the Blue Jackets tonight? For Vegas to win, it may need to be. The Blue Jackets are an NHL-best 15-3-3 in one-goal games. For the Golden Knights to put enough distance between themselves and the Blue Jackets to avoid tumbling into a Columbus style of game, continued execution on the power play will probably be needed.

The Blue Jackets are 23rd in the NHL on the penalty kill at 79.2 percent.

 

 

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VGK Practice: McNabb

 

  • 02:12 • January 22nd, 2018

 

 

3. The One That Got Away?

Virtually nobody faulted the Blue Jackets when they made

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available in the Expansion Draft. The Swede had only six goals all of last season for Columbus, and just nine the year before. On a team that finished with 108 points last season that's teeming with young talent, Karlsson was recognizably a bit behind on the Blue Jackets' depth chart.

Since coming to Vegas, of course, Karlsson has been a revelation. His 25 goals are sixth in the NHL, only four behind Alexander Ovechkin for the team lead. Karlsson has more goals than anyone in the Western Conference.

Maybe even more interesting is that Karlsson, a center, has 25 goals and this is more than every Blue Jackets center has combined for this season.

Will Karlsson make his former team pay tonight?

Given his success and the offensive struggles of Blue Jackets centers this season, all of the focus will be on Karlsson.

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