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PREVIEW: Vegas Golden Knights visit the Boston Bruins with their new head coach

Gerard Gallant’s firing was a bit of a surprise, but Vegas wasted no time in snagging Pete DeBoer off the unemployment line to try and get the Knights back on track.

NHL: Boston Bruins at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Just the facts

When: Tonight, 7:00 PM

Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA

How to follow: ESPN+, , TVAS, SportsNet, ATTSN-RM, NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Knights on Ice

Know your enemy

  • 25-19-7, 57 points, 4th in Pacific Division and tied with the Arizona Coyotes for first in Western Conference Wild Card race
  • Goals: Max Pacioretty, 21
  • Assists: Mark Stone, 28
  • Points: Pacioretty, 47
  • Goalies: Marc-Andre Fleury, 19-11-4 with 2.85 GAA and .906 Sv%

Though, we might more likely see Malcolm Subban, the former Bruins draft pick and goalie prospect plucked off of waivers by Vegas back in October of 2017. Subban is sitting a little uncomfortably at 6-7-3, 3.04 GAA, and .898 Sv% - well below league average.

Game notes

  • Before I reinvent the wheel here, our feerliss leedur Dan wrote up a great pre-preview on this game a few days ago. Give the thing a read, and there’s a link to get tickets via StubHub at the end if you’re in town and need to get to the game.
  • Fun player note: while Subban was a Boston prospect, Maxime Lagace - our current backup for Jaroslav Halak in Tuukka Rask’s absence - spent a few seasons prior to this one in the Vegas system... and was... Not Great™, as they say, over sixteen games in ‘17-’18 and started just once in the bigs in ‘18-’19. He’s yet to get another sniff.
  • Vegas has seven players above the 20-point mark, to Boston’s eight. Boston, though, has three players above 40 points... and Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are both above 60. Depth is similar too, with Vegas having another seven players in double-digits to Boston’s six.
  • The similarities extend to the #fancystats, too... with Vegas having a slight edge in CF% and xGF%, while Boston owning GF%. Boston also allows almost a half-goal less than Vegas does over 60 minutes. One might still give the edge to Boston here, since they’re stronger defensively and should allow fewer goals. Compared to league average in this season’s reporting on these stats, Boston is a little above the line, while Vegas still shows an advantage in scoring prowess but less so on defensive strength.
  • The tale of the starting goalies’ last five games is a little sobering. Since Rask was diagnosed with a concussion and will almost certainly miss tonight’s game, Halak has been tabbed with all the starts leading into the All-Star break. Two wins, two losses, and one shootout loss in his last five starts sounds kinda weak... until you look at what Fleury has had to endure, going 1-4 with one shootout loss. Vegas just has not been looking great.
  • Which brings us to their latest news... which isn’t all that breaking, but still momentous. Given their struggles, the Knights chose to fire head coach Gerard Gallant and replace him with the recently-fired Peter DeBoer, whose last gig was coaching for the San Jose Sharks. The team won for DeBoer in their first outing against the Ottawa Senators (as they probably should), and lost in the shootout on Sunday to the Montreal Canadiens. For Gallant, the firing was a shrewd reminder of how things can go in professional hockey; he went in a flash from being on solid footing in a new market and an All-Star coach, to sitting on his ass. The NHL gave him the option to still coach at the ASG but he declined - and can you blame him?

Let’s go into the break on a good foot, Bruins!