Ducks try to silence Golden Knights' offense

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Vegas Golden Knights make their first regular-season appearance in Anaheim on Wednesday night against the Ducks. For Vegas, this represents the second of three games this week versus the California teams.

Vegas beat the Kings in Los Angeles 4-2 on Sunday night. After playing the Ducks, the Golden Knights will travel up the state to San Jose for a game on Friday.

Vegas (12-6-1) arrives in Anaheim on two days' rest after a physical game versus Los Angeles. The Golden Knights are playing for the second time in six days. Anaheim (10-7-3) played in San Jose on Monday, winning the second half of back-to-back games in a shootout. The Ducks play five games in seven days this week.

Anaheim's goaltending has been a big factor in recent games. Goaltender John Gibson posted a 50-save performance to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 at home Sunday night. Backup Reto Berra stopped 40 shots and six of nine shootout tries to get a 3-2 win versus the Sharks. Anaheim netminders have faced forty or more shots in five of the team's last seven games.

Vegas has used five goalies in 19 games. Coming off two wins in a row, Maxime Lagace is the likely starter. Malcolm Subban backed him up on Sunday.

Coach Gerard Gallant commented on his goaltending after the win versus Los Angeles.

"These kids continue to play well for us, so I'm real happy with the way (Legace is) competing and battling and stopping pucks for us," he said.

Vegas got three quick goals versus the Kings' Jonathan Quick on Sunday, chasing him from the net in 11:22 of the first period. The Ducks are notorious for slow starts. They went down 1-0 at 3:31 of the first period versus San Jose Monday before rallying to a 2-1 lead. The Sharks tied the game in the third period, pouring 20 shots at Berra.

Against the Golden Knights, the Ducks will feature a defensive corps bolstered by Cam Fowler's return. He played 23:25 versus the Sharks. His mobility created bursts of offense lacking in his 11-game absence with a knee injury. He captains the power play in the absence of Ryan Getzlaf.

The Ducks scored two seconds after a power play expired on Monday night after gaining two power play goals on Sunday.

Fowler said of his comeback, "I tried to keep it real simple, tried to get my feet underneath me. ... I seemed to feel better as the game went along."

Said coach Randy Carlyle: "It settles down your hockey club when you have your people back. We've been putting pressure on lots of people other than our injured players, obviously when they're not available to you. It more of a calming effect, a settling down of your group that you're looking for from those veteran players when they come back."

Vegas has played disciplined, nearly penalty-free hockey of late. It ranks third in the league in fewest penalty minutes taken.

Deryk Engelland told Golden Knights Insider Gary Lawless, "We're a team that rolls four lines. Gets everyone into it, and when there's not many penalties, guys are going on regular shifts, staying in the games, keeping focused, fresh, and it's a big thing for guys instead of sitting on the bench for five, 10 minutes."

Vegas has 11 players with nine or more points. The Ducks have eight. Anaheim is still suffering from the loss of several key players, including Getzlaf.

Against the Sharks, three of Anaheim's top four scorers -- Corey Perry, Rickard Rakell, and Brandon Montour -- had two points apiece.

Vegas has scored nine goals in the past two games, both wins. Nobody has more goals than the Golden Knights (68) in the Western Conference.

The Ducks will have to contain William Karlsson, who erupted for two goals in the first period versus the Kings. He has scored nine goals in the past 13 games. David Perron leads the team with 17 points (6-11-17).

"Karlsson's been outstanding for us," Gallant said. "He's playing well. He's getting the chance to play a lot more minutes than he's played in the past. He's a young player that's taking advantage of his ice time."

The Golden Knights have to blast away at Gibson and hope he gives way, like Quick did. Counting on that ignores his sterling play over his past few starts.

Copyright 2017 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Our Latest Stories