Golden Knights Preparing for Difficult Road Matchup Versus Lightning

Source: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Heading into this week, the Vegas Golden Knights knew they had their work cut out for them. A four-game road trip against four of the best teams in the league in the Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning meant they needed to be at their absolute best in order to have success.

They have now wrapped up three of four games on that difficult road trip, picking up three points. The most difficult of the three matches came on Thursday, a game in which they lost to the Panthers by a score of 4-1. That Panthers team is one that many view as the best in the NHL right now. Despite that, however, Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer believes Saturday night may be the toughest matchup they have had yet in a game against the Lightning.

“They haven’t really missed a beat,” DeBoer said about the Lightning. “Obviously they couldn’t keep their entire group together, but they found a way to bring different guys in. Bellemare, Perry, who have filled in some of those spots. Their high end, top end guys are very good. You don’t win back-to-back Cups unless you are.”

“When you look at the teams in the last decade that have done that, L.A. with Kopitar and Doughty and Brown and that group. Pittsburgh with Crosby and Malkin and Letang. (The Lightning) have their core group and it’s going to be a tough game.”

It certainly won’t be an easy task for the Golden Knights, as the Lightning boast a 29-10-5 record on the season. The good news however, is that this Vegas squad is starting to get healthy, recently welcoming back players like Max Pacioretty, William Karlsson, and Nolan Patrick after extended absences. Defenceman Alec Martinez has not yet been cleared, but is expected to return soon, as is Jack Eichel, who has yet to play in the 2021-22 season.

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