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Game 14 Preview, Vegas Golden Knights @ Ottawa Senators

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The expansion franchise makes the trip to Canada’s capital.

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s most recent expansion team, visits the Ottawa Senators this afternoon for their first matchup in franchise history. For a group of players who didn’t know they’d be playing together six months ago, the Golden Knights have been off to a hot start with an 8-1-0 record in their opening nine games. They’ve lost their last three, however, so it remains to be seen whether this team is for real or just had a lucky start.

Ben Harpur was recalled yesterday from Belleville, although it remains to be seen whether he’ll draw into the lineup at the expense of a forward. Craig Anderson gets the nod in goal.

Here is the projected lineup, via DailyFaceoff:

Here are some notes for tonight:

  • Today’s matchup is the Sens’ annual Hockey Fights Cancer game. The players will be wearing purple uniforms during warmups, and a ceremony will also take place before puck drop, featuring Nicholle Anderson. The Senators recently posted an article with quotes from Nicholle about Hockey Fights Cancer month, and her role as the Sens’ ambassador.
  • Funds will be raised throughout the day for the Ottawa Hospital. Instructions on how to donate can be found here.
  • Although Vegas has yet to confirm their starting goaltender, it will likely be Maxime Lagace, who is their 4th string goalie. With Marc-Andre Fleury, Malcolm Subban and Oscar Dansk all injured, Vegas has been put in a troubling situation with their goaltending. In Lagace’s first three NHL games, he’s put up a save percentage of only 88.8%.
  • Late last night it was leaked that a blockbuster three way deal was very close involving Matt Duchene coming to Ottawa and Kyle Turris being the main piece moving out. Even though that trade is dead, it’s likely that Turris, whose contract expires on July 1st 2018, is still on the trading block. With 22 scouts showing up to Thursday’s game, it’ll be worth keeping an eye on the scouts in attendance today.
  • The Senators have a 3-2-2 record playing against expansion franchises for the first time. They lost to the Lightning and Panthers, followed it up with three consecutive wins against the Ducks, Predators and Thrashers, then tied both the Blue Jackets and Wild in 2000-01.
  • Erik Karlsson points watch: with no goals and twelve assists, he’s already tied for 3rd in scoring amongst defencemen, with at least four less games played than all of them.
  • Connection of the Game: Chris Wideman and Reilly Smith both played their college hockey at Miami University (Ohio), connecting for three seasons from 2009-10 to 2011-12. They won their division in the 2011 regular season, and again during the 2012 playoffs.
  • Today’s game starts early at 2:00p.m. EST.

Here are some stats tonight from NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
Category Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 3.21 9th 2.73 23rd
Goals against/GP 3.05 19th 3.18 23rd
Shots/GP 30.9 18th 29.3 28th
Shots against/GP 29.7 4th 32.8 24th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 48.15 22nd 47.48 25th
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 50.29 14th 46.20 28th

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Player # Player #
Goals Matt Duchene 27 Brad Marchand 34
Assists Erik Karlsson (out) 53 Brad Marchand 51
Points Karlsson/Stone (both out) 62 Brad Marchand 85
Shots Mike Hoffman 253 David Pastrnak 236
TOI/GP Erik Karlsson (out) 26:44 Zdeno Chara 22:53