(The Bruins and Golden Knights meet for the first time at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday night. Photo by Peter Manderino, Bruins Daily)
The Vegas Golden Knights were one of the hottest talking points entering the 2017-18 National Hockey League campaign. Whether it was projecting how Sin City’s first professional hockey team would fare in their inaugural season or putting the city on their back following the tragic shooting just days before their first game, the Golden Knights have provided plenty of positives with a 3-1 mark through their first four contests.
Leaguewide, the Boston Bruins haven’t had the same buzz. But they enter their first game ever against the Golden Knights with a little momentum after Zdeno Chara (three points) led the way to the B’s much-needed 6-2 win over the Coyotes less than 24 hours ago.
Tonight also marks a reunion of sorts for plenty of Boston connections who have made their marks in Vegas. From the roster (Reilly Smith, Colin Miller and Malcolm Subban) to the terrific T.V. commentator pairing of Dave Goucher and Shane Hnidy and a top-notch pro behind the scenes in Eric Tosi, plenty of former Bruins have found a nice new home in the “entertainment capital of the world.”
Like the Bruins – who will likely be without Patrice Bergeron (lower body) for the fifth straight game – the Golden Knights have been hit by injuries in the early going. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was added to the team’s injured reserve list on Sunday joining the likes of Jonathan Marchessault, Erik Haula, David Clarkson and Mikhail Grabovski.
Still, this won’t be an easy game for the Black and Gold as they look to make it two in a row for the first time this year. Even with their shorthanded roster, the Golden Knights will give the B’s all they can handle.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 2-2-0 (4 points), Golden Knights 3-1-0 (6 points)
Location: T-Mobile Arena
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Riley Nash-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Anders Bjork
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Spooner-Austin Czarnik
Tim Schaller-Sean Kuraly-Danton Heinen
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Charlie McAvoy
Golden Knights projected lines
David Perron-Cody Eakin-James Neal
Reilly Smith-William Karlsson-Oscar Lindberg
Brendan Leipsic-Vadim Shipachyov-Alex Tuch
Tomas Nosek-Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare-Will Carrier
Nate Schmidt-Luca Sbisa
Colin Miller-Jason Garrison
Deryk Engelland-Brayden McNabb
– With the injury to Fleury, Subban, barring any last minute development, will get the nod against his former team. Despite a strong preseason, the 2012 first round pick had a rocky road full of injuries and inconsistent play during his time in the Bruins system. Luckily for Subban, he was picked up on waivers by the Golden Knights and as fate would have it will likely get his first start of the year. For a goalie looking to prove that he belongs at the NHL level, Subban (5.82 goals against average and .783 save percentage in his brief NHL career) would obviously like nothing more than to one-up his former team to begin his Vegas tenure.
– On the flip side, the Bruins are hoping to get Tuukka Rask into a groove during the first month of the season. Though his teammates hung him out to dry for the most part in the home-and-home setbacks against the Avalanche, Rask is giving his doubters plenty to complain about in his first three games this year (1-2-0, 3.76 GAA, .870 SV%). It’s been four days since Rask made his last start. In his career, the 2014 Vezina winner performs quite well when having three or more days of rest with a 41-23-8 mark to go along with a 2.13 GAA and .928 SV%. In their first back-to-back of the year, the Bruins would like nothing more than for the well-rested Rask to continue his track record after a few days off.