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HockeyLady

Canadiens At Golden Knights: 3 Keys To The Game

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It's a rare opportunity for the Golden Knights.

In a stretch where Vegas plays seven straight games at home and nine out of 10, tonight is its third straight game against a team that probably won't make the playoffs. Of the six remaining home games on this stretch, five of them are against teams currently outside the playoffs.

With the Golden Knights riding high at 21-4-2 at home, this is a chance to put some distance between themselves and the pack in the Western Conference.

So far, the 38-15-4 Golden Knights are 2-1-0 in this stretch, and will next meet the 22-28-7 Montreal Canadiens.

Today's game starts at 4:00 PM (PT).

Here are three keys to the game.

 

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NHL Now: First Vegas bobblehead

 

  • 00:52 • February 16th, 2018

 

 

1. The Old Equalizer

The Golden Knights have 30 more points than the Canadiens. So it's clear that there's a bit of a gap between these teams this season.

Although with Carey Price in goal for the Canadiens, it's always the potential equalizer. While Price isn't having a season up to his usual standards and is coming off three straight losses and five goals against in Arizona, he's still Carey Price. He's still a former Vezina Trophy winner as league's best player and former NHL MVP.

Price is still recognized as probably the best goalie in hockey.

No matter what sort of season he or his team is having, Price is capable to stealing a game on any given night. And while it's never a good idea to take any opponent lightly in the NHL, Price's presence makes this even more apparent today.

 

 

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VGK Practice: Gallant

 

  • 04:48 • February 16th, 2018

 

 

2. Keep Them Slumping

Of all the areas that Montreal has had trouble lately, its offensive production is probably the most concerning. The Canadiens have only scored two goals over their past two games, and have been shut out twice in February.

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, meanwhile, has been riding high, having won two straight starts and continuing to sit near the top of the league in all major goaltending categories. He's second with a 2.03 goals-against average and third with a .933 save percentage.

Brendan Gallagher has 21 goals for Montreal, and is a real threat to score 30. But outside of him, no Canadien may even reach 25, where in the past many of them have. You'd have to expect that players suffering through rare off years may have fragile confidence. In Fleury's case, his duty is to keep their confidence low.

If Fleury can make a few great saves early, he may get in Montreal's head.

 

 

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VGK Practice: Marchessault

 

  • 01:45 • February 16th, 2018

 

 

3. Smith, Vegas' Under-The-Radar Star?

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has often been overshadowed this season. Which playing on a line with 30-goal scorer

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and team scoring leader Jonathan Marchessault, is easily understandable.

Although entering today with points in six straight games (3G, 6A), Smith is on absolute fire. In fact, other than a rare cold streak in January where he went six games without a point, Smith hasn't gone consecutive games without a point since early January.

He was 17 goals and 31 assists and is on pace for 68 points this season. Yet he hardly gets any headlines.

What sort of damage can Smith do against the Canadiens today? And his line?

Watch out for this player who is quietly on his best stretch of the season right now.

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