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Game Preview/Lines #22: Golden Knights Forced Out of Hotel; Boughner on Couture-Pacioretty, Sorensen

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Credit: Sheng Peng

Last night’s antics brought back memories of the San Jose Sharks-Vegas Golden Knights’ wild 2019 playoff series.

I mean, we had no Gerard Gallant calling Peter DeBoer “a clown” moment or #NotAMajor, but we had Max Pacioretty cold-shouldered a changing Logan Couture, Couture jumping Pacioretty, Kurtis Gabriel squaring off with Ryan Reaves, Reaves and Gabriel jawing at each other for about five minutes in the penalty box, Oscar Dansk passing the puck to Kevin Labanc with a minute to go, Labanc tying the game.

This isn’t even getting to the debut of San Jose’s Reverse Retro jerseys, Jones getting pulled versus Vegas (again), Reaves’s injury, and the Golden Knights being kicked out of their hotel before the game.

So…what’s in store tonight?

San Jose Sharks (8-10-3)

Vegas Golden Knights (15-4-1)

(This is projected, based on Reaves being helped off the ice last night)

Pacioretty-Stephenson-Stone

Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith

Tuch-Glass-Roy

Carrier-Nosek-Kolesar

Holden-Pietrangelo

Martinez-Theodore

Hague-Whitecloud

Fleury

Morning Skate

Post-game, Logan Couture had no interest in re-hashing his first period mix-up with Max Pacioretty.

Boughner spoke to it today though: “I liked, I thought that Cooch was sort of leading by example there and letting our players know, letting the rest of his team know that he’s ready to go, we need to be engaged physically. So I didn’t have a problem with that. I thought that everybody followed suit after that.

“I thought it was one of our most physical games of the year. Not so much after the whistle, on our forecheck and finishing hits, trying to grind with another team. I thought we did that very well.”

Was Vegas getting used to taking liberties with San Jose this year? – see Jonathan Marchessault on Radim Simek, then Pacioretty on Couture – and does last night’s pushback mean anything in the big picture?

Hard to say, but speaking of Simek, he loved it: “A lot of guys did a great job. Kurtis Gabriel, great fight with Reaves. I think Timo Meier got five hits. A couple guys, they got a lot of hits there.”

Golden Knights ousted from team hotel after sudden closing

SPORTLOGiQ Pre-Game Stat of the Night

Per SPORTLOGiQ, Erik Karlsson led all skaters on both teams with a 00:50 Offensive Zone Possession Time last night. I’ve said this before, but I believe it’s a sign that he’s finding his game: The more he holds the puck, the more confident that he appears that his skating can help him escape from tough situations.

Here’s one example – from a standstill, Karlsson (65) blows by a dogged forechecker in Reilly Smith (19):

Let’s see how Karlsson’s body responds to a back-to-back tonight, but his rapidly-improving game is great news for the San Jose Sharks.

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Alaskan_ice

Go Sharks!!

[…] In my Friday Preview, I wrote: “Will the Golden Knights bring out the best of the Sharks tonight? Or, like Feb. 13, will they once again bring out the worst?” […]

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