Golden Knights look to stay hot against Red Wings
The Vegas Golden Knights will take a four-game win streak into Saturday night's game with the Detroit Red Wings and are 10-1-0 in their last 11 games. And the last three wins have come with backup goaltender Malcolm Subban in net while starter Marc-Andre Fleury, who leads the league with eight shutouts and is second in wins with 35, nurses a lower-body injury.
With Fleury still listed as day-to-day by Vegas coach Gerard Gallant, Subban, coming off his first career shutout in Thursday night's 5-0 victory over Winnipeg, is expected to make his fourth straight start against the visiting Red Wings.
"He's a big part of this team," forward Reilly Smith, who has three goals and five assists in the last three games, told reporters. "Probably doesn't get the recognition that he deserves but he's been able to come in and have big games for us. He makes key timely saves for us and he's really athletic back there. There is no doubt that there is a lot of confidence when he's in net."
Subban started the season slowly, dropping his first six starts while playing sparingly behind Fleury, but he has bounced back to win seven of his last eight. That included a 20-save performance against the Jets to pick up his first shutout in 35 career starts.
"It's definitely been fun," said the younger brother of 2013 Norris Award winning defenseman P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators. "(Winnipeg is) a great team. They came in here tonight to win. The boys played a great game in front of me, so the shutout is icing on the cake."
Subban has averaged just 24 saves in the last three wins during which the Golden Knights have outscored their opponents 18-6.
"(Forechecking), that's a big part of our game," Gallant said. "I talk about it all the time, but I thought we played a complete game (against the Jets). It was excellent."
Detroit, playing the third game of a five-game road trip that began with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers, comes in off a 5-2 loss at St. Louis on Thursday. Thomas Vanek scored two goals in the loss, which snapped a two-game winning streak.
"I thought our effort was excellent," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I thought we competed really, really hard. We stubbed our toe a couple of times when we didn't need to ... (but) overall from an effort and a compete standpoint I thought it was excellent."
The Red Wings are in seventh place in the Atlantic Division, nine points behind sixth place Buffalo, and are just 12-20-5 on the road this season.
Vegas has won six straight home games and is 23-10-4 at T-Mobile Arena this season.
This is the second of two meetings between the teams this season. Vegas, behind two goals by Jonathan Marchessault and 36 saves by Fleury, won the first one, 4-3, in Detroit on Feb. 7.
The Golden Knights received some good news on the injury front on Friday. Gallant said left wing Max Pacioretty, who left the win over Winnipeg in the first period with what appeared to be a knee injury, is day-to-day.
"Not as bad as I thought last night," Gallant said after the team's practice on Friday.
Pacioretty is tied for second on the team in goals with 22.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 23, 2019