Game #54 Preview: Let’s Turn Sin City into Win City

I apologize for that headline

Saturday, February 9 - 10:00 EST
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada (technically Paradise, Nevada, an unincorporated town. Thanks, Wikipedia rabbit hole)
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: 97.1 FM
Opponent’s Blog: Knights on Ice

Columbus Blue Jackets (30-20-3, 63 points, 3rd Metro, 7th East)


Vegas Golden Knights (31-21-4, 66 points, 3rd Pacific, 5th West)

The Blue Jackets finish their Western road trip tonight with a visit to Las Vegas to take on the Golden Knights. Both teams find themselves in similar situations: in third place in their respective divisions, having had a hot streak around the new year, followed by a losing streak sandwiched around the All Star break. Each team enters tonight having won their previous two games. Which one will extend their win streak to three?

Player to Watch

William Karlsson aka Lars aka Wild Bill aka Bill S. Karlsson, Esquire

In the most surprising NHL team of all time, the biggest surprise of the 2017-18 Golden Knights was the play of former Blue Jacket Karlsson. In his first 183 NHL games with Anaheim and Columbus, Wild Bill scored 18 goals and 32 assists. In 82 games last season, he scored 43 goals and 35 assists while shooting a lead-leading 23.4% and winning the Lady Bing Memorial Trophy and leading his team to the Cup Final in their inaugural season. As expected, there has been regression but he is still shooting a healthy 14.7% with 17 goals and 18 assists, and still anchors the top line. He’s still productive on special teams; it’s even strength where his scoring pace has dropped.

His performance so far against his old team has been missed. In his first opportunity, in this building last January, he scored two goals in a blowout win. He then was -3 in the return trip to Columbus in March. In his next trip to Columbus, in December, he was -1 in a 1-0 loss. Will there be more home cooking for him tonight?

Jackets Notes

Artemi Panarin finally spoke to the media in his own words yesterday after practice. He says there’s a chance he could re-sign with Columbus after the season, but that’s not a convincing statement ... Oliver BJORKSTRAND has scored goals in three of his last four games, as the line with Alexander Wennberg and Anthony Duclair finally seems to be clicking ... After an 11 game drought, the power play has scored in 8 of the last 11 games, and 5 of the last 6. ALL HAIL SAINT ST. LOUIS! ... SCOREBOARD WATCHING: There are six Metro teams in action today, most notably the Islanders vs. the Avalanche at 1 p.m. and Panthers/Capitals and Penguins/Lightning at 7 p.m. Columbus is tied in points with Pittsburgh but has a game in hand and more ROW. T’would be nice to create a little separation tonight, and close the gap to Washington and New York. Carolina defeated the New York Rangers last night to pull within one point of Columbus and Pittsburgh (but has played two more games than the Jackets).

The Other Bench

Vegas needed a third period comeback to beat the Red Wings on Thursday to cap their road trip ... The Knights aren’t scoring as much, but they’re still getting solid goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury. He’s a workhorse at age 34, having started 48 of 56 games, with a 2.48 GAA and .912 SV% ... Knights On Ice recently profiled four players who could be moved at the trade deadline. Vegas makes sense as a team that could use Panarin as a playoff rental. Do any of those names interest you as a return? What about Cody Eakin to help our center depth? Obviously it would require an additional pick or prospect included as well.

Season Series

12/17/2018 VGK 0 @ CBJ 1
02/09/2019 CBJ @ VGK


Vegas   Columbus
2.95 (15) GPG 3.26 (9)
2.71 (5) GAPG 3.08 (18)
18.2% (19) PP% 16.2% (25)
83.9% (5) PK% 84.0% (4)
54.34% (3) EV Corsi % 49.63% (15)
98.7 (25) EV PDO 100.1 (15)
Jonathan Marchessault, 19 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 29
Alex Tuch, 24 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 40
Alex Tuch, 40 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 60
Ryan Reaves, 58 PIM Leader Josh Anderson, 48
16-6-3 Home / Road 16-9-1
4-6-0 Last 10 5-5-0

Projected Lineups

Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Josh Anderson
Anthony Duclair Alexander Wennberg Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Markus Hannikainen Riley Nash Lukas Sedlak
Ryan Murray Seth Jones
Zach Werenski David Savard
Hott Scarrington, who is kind of good now??? Markus Nutivaara (who is struggling????)
Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Jonathan Marchessault William Karlsson Valentin Zykov
Max Pacioretty Paul Stastny Alex Tuch
Oscar Lindberg Cody Eakin Reilly Smith
Tomas Nosek Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Ryan Reaves
Brayden McNabb Nate Schmidt
Shea Theodore Deryk Engelland
Jon Merrill Colin Miller
Marc-Andre Fleury
Malcolm Subban

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