The past two Stanley Cup runner ups face off Tuesday night as the Vegas Golden Knights host the Boston Bruins. Vegas and Boston are both poised for another shot at Lord Stanley this season. Vegas won its first two games of the year against San Jose, while Boston is 2-0 with victories coming against Dallas and Arizona.
The Golden Knights lit up the scoreboard in both wins over the Sharks, outscoring their division rivals by a 9-2 margin. Vegas is expecting to boast one of the top offensive units in the league, highlighted by Mark Stone, who is in his first full season with Vegas. Stone already has one goal and three assists. The Golden Knights also have a dependable, veteran goalie in Marc-Andre Fleury.
Boston's top line can challenge anyone's in the NHL and seems due for a breakout scoring night soon. The trio of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron will keep the Bruins competitive in nearly every game. Boston's first two wins came via defensive struggles. Boston goalies Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak looked equally impressive in their respective season debuts. The Bruins have yet to announce a starter at goalie for Tuesday.
Bruins hope to continue road trip successThe Boston Bruins were given the unenviable task of beginning their season with four straight road games against Western Conference opponents. So far, so good. Boston has relied on its defense to beat Dallas and Arizona by scores of 2-1 and 1-0. Boston has a 100% penalty kill thus far, and goalies Tuukka Rask and Jaroslay Halak both looked stellar in their first starts. The Bruins may be inclined to give Rask the start Tuesday given that he's on a couple days' longer rest.
Defense has been the name of the game for the Bruins early on. That's not a surprise after Boston ranked 2nd in the NHL last year in goals against at full strength. However, Boston was quite pedestrian on the penalty kill. Zdeno Chara is now 42 years, but the defenseman is still giving everything he has to the game. The Bruins will need some younger guys to step up as Chara's time on the ice declines.
The Bruins are expected to be one of the top offensive teams in the league, even as their top contributors enter the early to mid 30s. Marchand and Burgeron will compete for the team lead in points. A matchup against a top goalie like Fleury should provide a good gauge for the whole group.
Vegas looks to keep offense rollingThe Vegas Golden Knights couldn't have asked for a better start than what they delivered, beating up twice on rival San Jose. Not only did Vegas send an early message to its division rival but it built plenty of early-season confidence heading into Tuesday night's affair with Boston. A mix of old and new contributed to the Golden Knights scoring nine goals in their first two games.
Forward Mark Stone looks plenty comfortable in his first full season with Vegas. The 27-year old has been a fixture in nearly half of the Golden Knights goals so far. He's surrounded by skilled skaters, including eight-year veteran Reilly Smith, who has two quick goals and an assist, and Max Pacioretty. Rookie Cody Glass is a name to follow. The 6th overall pick of the 2017 draft, Glass was Vegas' top prospect the past few years. Now he's getting a chance to contribute regularly.
Fleury gives the Golden Knights one of the most trusted goalies in the Western Conference, if no the entire league. Fleury looked solid against San Jose, but Boston will provide a greater challenge. Whether he can deliver will determine the outcome Tuesday.
- Golden Knights are 1-5 in their last 6 vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Golden Knights are 1-5 in their last 6 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Golden Knights are 3-7 in their last 10 vs. Atlantic.
- Bruins are 8-1 in their last 9 road games.
- Bruins are 8-0 in their last 8 games as an underdog of +110 to +150.
- Bruins are 44-14 in their last 58 vs. Western Conference.