Preview: Devils at Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights have vaulted up the standings in the Pacific Division and will look to run their winning streak to a season-high six games when they host the New Jersey Devils on Sunday afternoon. Not only have the red-hot Golden Knights won five in a row, but they are riding an eight-game point streak (6-0-2) overall and have points in 10 straight at home (8-0-2).
"As the year goes on, you are going to have your surges and a couple times when you're not playing that well, but I thought our guys, even when we're down in the game or we're not playing that well, we find ways to get ourselves back in," Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt told reporters after Friday's 3-2 win at Anaheim. The Golden Knights are 16-3-3 in their last 22 but one of the losses came after blowing a pair of three-goal leads in a 5-4 overtime loss at New Jersey on Dec. 14. Nico Hischier scored for the fifth time in 11 games for the Devils on Friday, a stretch that started with the overtime game-winner against Vegas. New Jersey has split the first two of a four-game road trip and is 4-1-0 without leading scorer Taylor Hall, who will miss his sixth straight game Sunday.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, Sportsnet, MSG Plus (New Jersey) AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (Vegas)
ABOUT THE DEVILS (16-17-7): Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made a splashy entrance into the NHL by recording consecutive shutouts in his third and fourth starts, but he exited Friday's game at Arizona due to a lower-body injury and did not practice Saturday for what the team termed precautionary reasons. Keith Kinkaid stopped both attempts in the shootout Friday after replacing Blackwood and also turned aside 14 of 15 shots in relief in last month's win over the Golden Knights. Blake Coleman registered a season-high eight shots on net and notched the tying goal Friday, leaving him one shy of his career high of 13.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS (25-15-4): Max Pacioretty had plenty to celebrate in his return to the lineup Friday, scoring the game-winning goal on the same night that his wife gave birth to the couple's son. With Pacioretty back with the team, Vegas surprisingly demoted forward Brandon Pirri, who was spectacular in the seven games since he was recalled from the minors, amassing six goals and three assists. "We're thrilled with Brandon's play," assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon told reporters. "He's improved, he's made a great impression and he'll be back with our team. I think it's important that our fans understand that."
1. Golden Knights F William Karlsson has two goals and two assists in 10 games since scoring twice at New Jersey last month.
2. Coleman and fellow Devils F Travis Zajac each have two goals and an assist in three games versus Vegas.
3. Golden Knights G Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed 11 goals in three starts versus the Devils since joining Vegas.
OVERTIME: Golden Knights 4, Devils 3