Preview: Rangers at Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights have hit the jackpot with their play of late while the New York Rangers will go bankrupt if their defense continues to be as generous as it has been in recent outings. The Golden Knights aim to extend their season-high win streak to seven contests on Tuesday when they host the reeling Rangers, who have been outscored 18-3 in their last three games.
Max Pacioretty capped a whirlwind weekend in style, scoring his second game-winning goal in three nights while squeezing in the birth of his son, Michael, early Saturday morning in Las Vegas. The 30-year-old Pacioretty's heroics in Sunday's 3-2 victory over New Jersey allowed the Golden Knights to extend their point streak to nine games (7-0-2) and 11 on home ice (9-0-2), which is one behind their franchise record set last season. While Vegas has vaulted toward the top of the Pacific Division by posting a 17-3-3 mark in its last 23 contests, New York has dropped three straight five-goal decisions and 14 of 19 overall (5-9-5) to fall into sixth place in the Metropolitan. "We're fragile mentally and physically right now, the way things are going," Rangers coach David Quinn said following Sunday's 5-0 loss to Arizona.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, ESPN-Plus, Sportsnet360, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet Pacific, MSG-Plus (New York), AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountains
ABOUT THE RANGERS (17-17-7): Chris Kreider rolled into the new calendar year with five of his club-best 20 goals to highlight a five-game point streak, only to be held off the scoresheet for the third straight outing on Sunday despite registering a team-high five shots on goal. The 27-year-old looks to locate his scoring touch versus Vegas, against which he scored in New York's 4-3 overtime loss on Dec. 16. Former Vezina Trophy recipient Henrik Lundqvist has been pulled in each of his last two games and has surrendered four goals in both career contests against the Golden Knights.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS (26-15-4): New York native Alex Tuch is riding a career-best six-game point streak (two goals, five assists) and has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in his last 16, including a two-point performance in which he scored 2:11 into overtime at Madison Square Garden last month. The 22-year-old continued his surge by setting up Pacioretty's goal in the second period versus the Devils, boosting his club-best totals in assists (19) and points (33). Paul Stastny scored and set up a goal in the first meeting with the Rangers, igniting a 10-point run (five goals, five assists) in his last 11 games.
1. Vegas LW Brandon Pirri, who had nine points (six goals, three assists) in seven games in the NHL this season, was recalled from Chicago of the American Hockey League on Monday
2. Rangers C Mika Zibanejad leads the team in points (34), but his last goal came against the Golden Knights on Dec. 16.
3. Vegas' 17th-ranked power play is mired in an 0-for-16 rut.
PREDICTION: Golden Knights 4, Rangers 2