Golden Knights try to stay perfect versus Ducks
LAS VEGAS -- The Vegas Golden Knights have pretty much made a mockery out of the record book for an NHL expansion team.
Among the marks the Golden Knights have broken:
--A record 3-0 start to the season
--An eight-game win streak
--Most wins in a season by an expansion team (34).
And it's still only mid-February.
So things were pretty much ho-hum after Saturday afternoon's 6-3 victory over Montreal at T-Mobile Arena, the team's 22nd home win of the season, matching the NHL mark for an expansion team set by Gordie Howe and the Hartford Whalers in 1979-80.
"I had no idea about the 22 home wins, and that (it's) a record," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "We're working hard, we're playing hard, but we play one game at a time. I know people are sick of me saying the same thing, but we look at the next game. We don't look at the past, we look at the next game. We've got a big game against Anaheim next."
The Golden Knights can break that record when they finish their regular-season series with the Ducks on Monday night at T-Mobile Arena. Vegas has won each of the three previous meetings, including a 4-3 shootout victory on Dec. 5 in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights also defeated the Ducks 4-2 on Nov. 22 and 4-1 on Dec. 27 at the Honda Center.
Vegas is an NHL-best 22-4-2 at home, outscoring the opposition 103-64. The Golden Knights (39-15-4) also lead the NHL with 82 points, one more than Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay. But don't look for Gallant to pass out any "atta-boys."
"We've got to be ready to play every night and play well," Gallant said. "There's a lot of teams out there that can beat us. We can beat anybody any given night, it's about who shows up and who's ready to play. When we execute, we're a good team. But there's lots of good teams out there. Believe me."
Anaheim, which comes in off a 3-2 shootout victory at Minnesota, is playing for its playoff life. The Ducks (29-20-11) moved into third place in the Pacific Division with the win over the Wild and a virtual tie for the second wild-card spot. But Minnesota (31-20-7) has two games in hand.
The Calgary Flames are one point behind Anaheim with a game in hand and the Los Angeles Kings are two back with two games in hand.
"The pressure is ramped up a little bit more, obviously," right winger Corey Perry told the Orange County Register. "It's teams battling for playoffs. You're battling for your lives right now and it's only 23, 24 games, whatever it is, left.
"You need every point you can get. It seems like every team's winning on every single night. It's a matter of going out and just doing your job. Letting everything else take care of itself."
Anaheim is 14-11-7 on the road this season but has won three of its last four gamesaway from home, including Saturday's dramatic win over the Wild which came on Nick Ritchie's goal in the 11th round of the shootout.
The Ducks didn't have center Ryan Kesler, who was scratched with a lower-body injury, for the win. The Orange County Register reported that Kesler, a two-time All Star and 2011 Selke Trophy winner who is coming back from major hip surgery, worked out off ice Sunday while the team practiced in Anaheim and will make the trip to Las Vegas.
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