NHL: Canucks, Knights put hot streaks on line in Vancouver

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The red-hot Vegas Golden Knights take their show on the road for a three-game Canadian road trip that begins on Tuesday night with a visit to Vancouver to take on the surging Canucks.

The Golden Knights (43-21-6, 92 points) are battling for first place in the Western Conference, and they currently sit two points above second-place Los Angeles and three above Dallas.

The Canucks (31-33-5, 67 points) host the Knights after winning back-to-back games of a California road swing and have now won seven of their last eight.

In the Golden Knights’ most recent game, leading scorer Jack Eichel delivered a hat trick as Vegas rolled over the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2 on Sunday.

This is Eichel’s first full season with the Golden Knights after the team gave up Peyton Krebs, Alex Tuch and three draft picks, including a first-rounder, in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres in November of 2021. It was the fourth hat trick of Eichel’s career.

“One good thing is the contributions throughout the lineup,” Eichel said following the win over Columbus. “We’ve had five goalies now play for us, and I think all of them have done a great job. So I think different guys are stepping up and playing well, and that’s what you need.”

Phil Kessel and Pavel Dorofeyev each had a goal and an assist, Alex Pietrangelo tied a single-game team record for defensemen with four assists and Zach Whitecloud and Paul Cotter also scored goals for Vegas in the drubbing of the Jackets.

“We did a good job, especially the tail end of the second period getting pucks in the net,” Knights forward Reilly Smith said. “We’re pretty fortunate with some of the bounces, but they go a long way when you’re able to push a team down and take away their confidence like that.”

Czech goalie Jiri Patera, making his second NHL start, finished with 35 saves. Knights goalies Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit are expected to return from injured reserve soon, which means Patera could be sent down to the AHL.

Vancouver is enjoying a surge following a late-season coaching change. The Canucks are coming off a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday and have allowed more than two goals just once over their last six contests.

The trio of Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes and J.T. Miller handled all of the scoring for the Canucks against the Ducks. Pettersson and Miller each had a goal and an assist while Hughes assisted on both markers.

Pettersson established a career high with his 33rd goal of the season and Hughes now has a team-leading 60 assists.

After getting just six shots on goal through the first two periods in their previous game, the Canucks needed a better start against Anaheim. They got it when Miller opened the scoring midway through the first with a slapshot that rang in off the far post.

The Canucks outshot Anaheim 34-12 through the first two periods and will look for another fast start on Tuesday.

“When you have a dud or don’t play well, you always look for players to have responses, and I saw some good responses from players who weren’t engaged (Saturday) night,” Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said. “That’s what the game is all about, being able to respond if things don’t go your way.”

–Field Level Media

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