|7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ET23:00 BRT, March 27, 2019
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado Attendance: 16,799
Knights seek to rebound against desperate Avs
Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche
- The Golden Knights fell to the Blues, 3-1, in St. Louis on Monday, and have now lost back-to-back games for the first time since February 20-22 (10-2-1 since then). It was the 14th time they've scored zero or one goal this season, tied for 10th fewest in the league.
- Jonathan Marchessault picked up an assist on Vegas' lone goal against St. Louis, giving him eight points (4g, 4a) in his last five games. His 55 points this year lead the team, the fourth-lowest total by any points leader this year.
- These teams have split their two meetings this year -- Vegas won at home, 2-1, in December, and Colorado won at home, 3-0, in February. The Pepsi Center is one of eight buildings in which the Golden Knights have not won -- they lost in a shootout in their only visit last season.
- The Avalanche lost to the Blackhawks, 2-1, in overtime in Chicago on Sunday, snapping a four-game winning streak. Colorado had just 20 shots on goal, its fewest of the season, and was outshot by 22, its largest margin of the season.
- Nathan MacKinnon had an assist on Colorado's goal against Chicago, pushing him to 92 points this season (37g, 55a), five shy of his career high set last year. Only one other Avalanche player has had back-to-back 90-point seasons since the move to Colorado -- Peter Forsberg in 1997-98 and 1998-99.
- Colorado has scored 48 goals in the last five minutes of the third period this season, the most in the league. Vegas has only allowed 22 such goals this year, fourth fewest in the league.
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After a stretch that saw them suffer just one loss over 11 games, the Vegas Golden Knights head into Wednesday night's contest against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on the heels of back-to-back defeats.
The Golden Knights dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Detroit Red Wings at home on Saturday night, and followed that up with a 3-1 loss at the red-hot St. Louis Blues on Sunday night.
Although well-secured for third place in the Pacific Division, Vegas (42-28-6, 90 points) blew a chance to close to within four points of slumping San Jose, which has lost six straight and hosts the Golden Knights on Saturday night. With the division-leading Flames (101 points) likely out of reach, the Sharks (95) and Knights will likely face each other in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, with the better record determining home-ice advantage.
Still, Vegas coach Gerard Gallant saw no reason to push the panic button after the loss to the Blues, who improved to a Western Conference-best 26-9-4 since Jan. 1.
"I thought we came in here and played a real good team and played a pretty good hockey game," Gallant said. "We'll move on (to Colorado)."
St. Louis took advantage of a pair of neutral-zone turnovers by the Golden Knights, as well as one by backup goalie Malcolm Subban -- making his fifth consecutive start in place of injured Marc-Andre Fleury (lower body injury) -- behind his own net, to score their three goals in the hard-fought game.
"Obviously they got the three goals and beat us tonight, but I thought we played well," Gallant said. "We made a couple of mistakes that ended up in the back of our net. There wasn't a lot of room out there. It was a playoff atmosphere type of game. (St. Louis) played really well."
Colorado should be well rested after garnering three of a possible four points in a weekend back-to-back against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Avalanche won the first game at home, 4-2, on Saturday afternoon before falling in overtime, 2-1, in Chicago on Sunday night.
Goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who is 5-1-1 in his last seven starts with a 1.14 goals-against and .965 save percentage to go with two shutouts, played both ends of the back-to-back. He had 40 saves in Sunday's overtime loss, his fifth straight start, after coming up with 29 stops in Saturday's win, and was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week on Monday.
"It was a tough decision, no question," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said when asked about going with Grubauer twice in a 27-hour span over a rested Semyon Varlamov, who had been the team's No. 1 goalie for most of the season. "But the way Grubauer has been playing lately -- bailing us out in different situations on any given night and coming up with big saves when we needed it -- made the job a little easier. He was outstanding for us. It turned out to be the right choice."
"Everybody knows what we are playing for here, and every point is important," Grubauer said about the quick turnaround.
Colorado (34-29-13, 81 points) entered Tuesday night's action with a two-point lead over both Arizona, which visits the Pepsi Center on Friday night, and Minnesota for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
This is the third of three regular-season meetings between the Golden Knights and Avalanche. Vegas, despite 41 saves by Grubauer, won the first one, 2-1, on Dec. 27 in Las Vegas on a third-period goal by Brandon Pirri. Varlamov had 40 saves to earn a shutout in a 3-0 Colorado win on Feb. 18 in Denver.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 26, 2019