The Vegas Golden Knights will travel to Amalie Arena on Thursday evening for a battle against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a matchup of the top two teams in the NHL.
Tampa Bay enters Thursday’s game with an Eastern Conference-leading 65 points through 44 games, while the Golden Knights remain atop the Western Conference standings with 61 points through their first 43 games.
Golden Knights shutout on the road by Preds
The Golden Knights suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 shutout loss on the road against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. Vegas couldn’t figure out how to put a puck past Predators’ backup goaltender Juuse Saros, who made a career-high 43 stops on the night to earn his fifth win of the season. Marc-Andre Fleury played admirably well in a losing effort, stopping 26 of the 27 shots that came his way en route to just his third regulation loss of the season.
Vegas already has more losses in the month of January (3) than the team had throughout the entire month of December, when the Knights went 11-1-1.
The Golden Knights rank 3rd in the NHL in goals per game at 3.4, despite converting on just 17.0 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage (24th in the NHL). Fleury has been excellent between the pipes all season long, going 9-3-2 with a 1.77 GAA and a .943 save percentage through 14 starts.
Lightning lead NHL with 65 points
The Tampa Bay Lightning took a rare loss at home in their last game against the Calgary Flames. Brayden Point scored the only goal of the night for Tampa Bay, as the Lightning lost at home to the Flames 5-1 on Tuesday evening. Andrei Vasilevskiy had a rare off night between the pipes for the Lightning. The All-Star caliber goaltender stopped just 19 of the 24 shots that were sent his way to lose for just the seventh time in regulation this season. Vasilevskiy is 27-7-2 so far this season with a .930 save percentage, a 2.18 GAA, and 6 shutouts.
Tampa Bay leads the NHL in scoring at 3.6 goals per game and is second in the league in goals against, allowing just 2.5 goals per contest. Nikita Kucherov leads the team in points (60) and goals (27), while Steven Stamkos has amassed a team-best 35 helpers already this season.
- Lightning are 21-5 in their last 26 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Lightning are 4-1 in their last 5 after allowing 5 goals or more in their previous game.
These are two of the very best home teams in the NHL. Vegas is 18-2-2 at T-Mobile Arena this year, while the Lightning are 17-4-1 at Amalie Arena. The Golden Knights, however, have not been nearly as formidable of an opponent on the road this season. Vegas is just 11-9-1 away from home, including a 1-0 loss in their last road game against the Predators. Look for Tampa Bay’s power play to be too much for the Golden Knights in this one. Take the Lightning to win at home on Thursday night.