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HockeyLady

Islanders At Golden Knights: 3 Keys To The Game

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In the grand scheme of things, it means nothing. Although for the first-year Golden Knights, it would certainly be a noteworthy accomplishment.

If Vegas defeat the New York Islanders (24-20-5) tonight, it'll be its 33rd win of the season. This would equal the 1993-94 Florida Panthers and 1993-94 Anaheim Mighty Ducks for the most wins ever by an NHL expansion team in its first season.

The Golden Knights, of course, have 35 more games this season, making this record a bit of a foregone conclusion. Although given the incredibly early juncture in the season that this record could be broken, it certainly would be a testament to the speed at which this team has come together.

In the way tonight are the New York Islanders, a team that beat the Golden Knights, 6-3, on October 30 in New York. Tonight's game starts at 7:00 PM on AT&T SportsNet. It can be heard on FOX Sports Radio, 98.9 FM/1340 AM.

Here are three keys to tonight's game.

 

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Recap: CBJ 3, VGK 6

Karlsson scores twice in Golden Knights' 6-3 win

 

  • 04:17 • January 23rd, 2018

 

 

1. No Den-isle, New York Can Score

It isn't very often that the Golden Knights encounter a team that scores as often as they do. The Islanders are one of those teams.

In fact, the teams' offensive outputs are nearly identical.

The Golden Knights have 161 goals in 47 games (3.43 per game). The Islanders have 167 in 49 games (3.41 per game). These totals are second and third in the NHL, respectively, behind the Tampa Bay Lightning (3.50 goals per game).

The Islanders' attack is centered around their captain and face of the franchise, John Tavares, whose 27 goals equal

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and is third in the league with 57 points.

Although Tavares doesn't even have the most goals on his line. Left wing Anders Lee also has 27, while right wing and 2018 All-Star Josh Bailey is tied for ninth in the NHL with 54 points.

Second-line center Mathew Barzal is probably the favorite to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year. The 20-year-old has 50 points in 49 games this season, including three goals and 10 assists in his past seven games.

 

 

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Recap: VGK 5, CAR 1

Miller, Fleury lead Golden Knights to 5-1 win

 

  • 03:34 • January 21st, 2018

 

 

2. No Den-isle, New York Can Be Scored On

No team in the NHL has more of a divide between strong offense and struggling defense than the Islanders. Their 178 goals-against in 49 games (3.63 goals per game) is by far the worst mark in the league.

Part of New York's struggles have come from some inconsistent goaltending. Starter Jaroslav Halak has a 3.23 goals-against average, the highest among any team's starting goalie. Backup Thomas Greiss' 3.89 goals-against average is second from the bottom of any goalie to play this season, while his .886 save percentage is second from the bottom.

In short, the Golden Knights have outshot their opponents in eight straight games and in 11 of the past 12. If they can generate these sorts of shots and maybe make a little extra emphasis on forcing the Islanders' struggling goalies to make save, goals are there to be scored.

On the flipside,

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used his winning performance on Tuesday against the Blue Jackets to take over the NHL lead in goals-against average (1.75) and save percentage (.944).

 

 

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VGK @ NYI

Condensed Game: Golden Knights @ Islanders

 

  • 08:49 • October 30th, 2017

 

 

3. Power Play Coming To Life?

What was pretty impressive for the Golden Knights was that they continued to win games in January despite a power play that didn't score once between January 2 and January 21.

Since then, Vegas has four power-play goals in two games.

Much of the power play's resurrection should be credited to defenseman

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, who plays the point on the top unit. Not only has Miller scored two of these four power-play goals, but he also has four points in his past two games.

The reason for Miller's success is his blazing slap shot. During his minor league days, he actually set the record in the AHL All-Star Game's Hardest Shot Competition by shooting 105.5 MPH as a member of the Manchester Monarchs (LA Kings).

The beauty of Miller's shots is that by usually coming from far away from the other team's goal, they're not necessarily difficult to get off. And against a team like the Islanders that's struggled in goal, Miller's long distance, blazing slap shots could pose a problem.

Can the Islanders limit Miller's time and space?

If not, no Vegas player seems more poised to have a big offensive night tonight than this defenseman. And in the process, Miller is also the centerpiece of the team's revived power play.

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