Preview: Golden Knights at Blackhawks
After seeing a pair of gaudy streaks come to a halt in their last outing, the Vegas Golden Knights bid to maintain their mastery of the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday when the teams conclude their season series at the United Center. The Golden Knights have won all five meetings with the Blackhawks over the last two campaigns, including an 8-3 drubbing in Chicago on Nov. 27 in which they set a franchise record for goals scored.
Vegas saw its season-high seven-game win streak and 12-game home point stretch (10-0-2) go by the boards with Thursday's 3-2 setback versus San Jose. "Everyone's been in this position before. The important thing is to move on to the next one now," said forward Max Pacioretty, who notched a pair of assists in both the November tilt as well as the Golden Knights' 4-3 win on Dec. 6. Chicago dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to Nashville on Wednesday to fall to 1-2-2 in its last five heading into the finale of its three-game homestand. "We're playing well, we're in games. You get to overtime, you get the feeling you can get the two points. It's unfortunate we haven't gotten it done in our building," captain Jonathan Toews said.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN-Plus, AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountains (Vegas), WGN (Chicago)
ABOUT THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS (27-16-4): Alex Tuch, who leads the team in assists (21) and points (35), set up a goal for the fourth straight contest to push his point streak to eight games (two goals, seven assists). The 22-year-old scored and set up a goal in the first meeting with Chicago before tallying again in the latter. Tuch's 14 goals are tied with Jonathan Marchessault to reside one behind struggling William Karlsson, who has been held off the scoresheet in five straight outings and eight of his last nine.
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (16-22-8): Former Hart Trophy recipient Patrick Kane posted his third straight multi-point performance on Thursday to boost his team-leading totals in goals (24), assists (34) and points (58). Alex DeBrincat has scored a goal in three straight contests to give him 16 points (11 goals, five assists) in his last 19 games while Toews also scored versus the Predators to lift his point total to 16 (five goals, 11 assists) in his last 14. Erik Gustafsson has set up nine goals during his seven-game assist streak, which is the longest for a Blackhawks defenseman since Duncan Keith registered 10 in eight contests in 2013.
1. Chicago G Collin Delia, who has been confirmed to start on Saturday, has faced an average of 40.8 shots per contest over his first six games (3-1-2).
2. Golden Knights C Branon Pirri has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in nine games this season heading into a tilt against the team that selected him in the second round of the 2009 NHL Draft.
3. The Blackhawks acquired Slater Koekkoek and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft from Tampa Bay on Friday in exchange for fellow D Jan Rutta and a seventh-round pick.
PREDICTION: Golden Knights 3, Blackhawks 2