Golden Knights look to take advantage of home ice vs. Canadiens

Field Level Media
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Feb 25, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA;  Vegas Golden Knights center Jonathan Marchessault (81) during a face-off against the Dallas Stars during the first period at T-Mobile Arena.
Feb 25, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights center Jonathan Marchessault (81) during a face-off against the Dallas Stars during the first period at T-Mobile Arena.
Image: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

After defeating two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference in a span of 48 hours, the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights finish up a three-game homestand Sunday afternoon against the Montreal Canadiens.

Just 20 games remain for Vegas, and the top eight teams in the Western Conference playoff race are separated by just eight points as of Saturday. It's a game that the Golden Knights, who play 13 of their final 19 games on the road, can't take lightly, even if Montreal resides in last place in the Atlantic Division.


The Golden Knights begin a challenging five-game road trip on Tuesday at Florida that also includes stops at Tampa Bay and Carolina. Road contests against Edmonton, Calgary, Minnesota, Nashville, Dallas and Seattle also are on the docket.

"It's that time of the year," said forward Jonathan Marchessault. "It's hard to get two points."


After a slow first period, Vegas grinded out a 3-2 win over the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes on Wednesday and followed that up with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Devils on Friday. Goaltender Adin Hill made a career-high 47 saves, including nine in overtime, and stopped all four New Jersey shootout tries. Marchessault had two goals and three points against New Jersey.

Despite the win, Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy spent much of his postgame press conference lamenting his team's second consecutive slow start, saying the Golden Knights were "not prepared to play."

The Devils outshot the Golden Knights 17-4 while taking a 2-1 lead in the first period and finished with 96 shot attempts, including 29 high-danger chances, according to Natural Stat Trick.

"We have to correct that," Cassidy said. "There's a lot of hockey left, and you don't have to be at your 100-percent best when the puck drops, but you have to be mentally engaged in the game. That's what I'm looking for. Yes, you're going to miss a play or you might get beat, but you (need to be) mentally engaged. We have not been, and (Friday) it took us longer."


Cassidy announced after practice on Saturday that Jonathan Quick, obtained at the trade deadline from Columbus, will make his first start for the Golden Knights on Sunday.

Montreal will be playing the final game of a four-game Western road trip that began with a 3-1 victory at San Jose and was followed by a pair of 3-2 losses to Los Angeles and Anaheim in a back-to-back.


Despite being out of the playoff picture with just 56 points, the Canadiens have been competitive, going 5-5-0 over their last 10 games. They were tied with the Ducks, 1-1, midway through the third period on Friday before Mason McTavish and Jakob Silfverberg scored power-play goals five minutes apart to give Anaheim a 3-1 lead.

Nick Suzuki scored with 30 seconds left after goalie Sam Montembeault was pulled for an extra attacker, but the Canadiens didn't get another shot on goal after that.


Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said he was proud of the effort his team displayed playing the second game of a back-to-back and its third game in four nights.

"To me, it's finish the year, don't coast to the finish line," St. Louis said. "We're not going to just count the days until the end of the season. We're going to go to work. The guys are engaged, the guys are proud. I'm expecting us to fight every game and keep working at what we're trying to do."


--Field Level Media