The Vegas Golden Knights took advantage of a team playing the second of back-to-back games on Thursday night. They’ll hope to do the same Saturday night when they host the Colorado Avalanche.
Vegas skated to a 5-2 victory over Winnipeg on Thursday, one night after the Jets won in overtime in Denver. Jack Eichel, who had two of the Knights’ goals Thursday night, said they capitalized on a team that played 24 hours earlier.
“We were rested and ready to rock,” Eichel said.
Vegas is off to a good start after a disappointing 2021-22 season, and part of the success is the play of its young goaltending tandem. Adin Hill and Logan Thompson have split time in the net after veteran Robin Lehner was ruled out for the season with a hip injury.
Hill and Thompson have combined to record one of the top save percentages in the NHL less than two weeks into the season.
Hill, who was acquired in the offseason in a trade with the San Jose Sharks, has a .934 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average.
Thompson posted a 10-5-3 record in 19 appearances (17 starts) with Vegas in 2021-22. He is allowing just 2.03 goals in his three starts this season.
“The more they each compete with one another and keep pushing one another, the better off we’ll be,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “It was the plan in acquiring Adin, knowing he was a good goaltender. And we saw parts of it with Logan last year. So we weren’t panicking when we got the news on Robin.”
The Avalanche are coming into Las Vegas one night after a 3-2 home loss to the Seattle Kraken. They had scored at least three goals in each of their first four games and boast one of the best groups of defensemen in the league.
They will play without one of their top pair against the Knights. Devon Toews sustained an undisclosed injury late in the 4-3 loss to Winnipeg and missed Friday night’s game.
Toews likely will be out Saturday, according to coach Jared Bednar.
“He’s a little bit sore but it’s good news,” Bednar said Friday. “Should be short term.”
With Toews out, Bowen Byram moved up to the top pairing with reigning Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar. Kurtis MacDermid, in turn, played alongside veteran Erik Johnson.
Seattle outshot Colorado 38-20, the biggest disparity of shots for the Avalanche this season.
Bednar said he doesn’t think the carryover from winning the Stanley Cup has been an issue for his team.
“We’re going through some stuff right now,” he said. “There’s no excuse. We’re onto a new season. I feel like we’ve turned the page. The communication in the locker room has been good. I feel like I used to look like they’re focused on the right things but it’s not translating to the ice right now.”
One bright spot in the loss to Seattle was newcomer Evan Rodrigues scoring his first goal in a Colorado sweater.
“I was pressing for the first few games and it was nice to see that one go in,” he said. “It’s not the result we wanted but good to get that one out of the way and hopefully they can start piling over.”
–Field Level Media