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Blackhawks At Golden Knights: 3 Keys To The Game

Tonight's game starts at 7:00. It can be seen on AT&T SportsNet. This is Cox channels 313 (SD) and 1313 (HD), DIRECTV channel 684, U-verse channels 757 (SD) and 1757 (HD), and CenturyLink channels 760 (SD) and 1760 (HD).

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

As soon as someone says that the Golden Knights' success can't continue, Vegas goes out and wins another game.

Or at least that's what it seems like?

At 6-1-0, the Golden Knights are the feel-good story early in this NHL season, with the best start by an expansion team in the league's 100-year history.

Nobody would've thought this when the schedule was released in June, but Vegas and the Chicago Blackhawks (5-2-2) enter tonight's tilt with the same number of points.

The game starts at 7:00. PM (PT).

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It can be seen on AT&T SportsNet. This is Cox channels 313 (SD) and 1313 (HD), DIRECTV channel 684, U-verse channels 757 (SD) and 1757 (HD), and CenturyLink channels 760 (SD) and 1760 (HD).

Dave Goucher and Shane Hnidy will have all the action.

Dan D'Uva will be calling the game on FOX Sports Radio. This is 98.9 FM and 1340 AM.

Here are three keys to tonight's game.

Video: Golden Knights coach spoke ahead of Tuesday's game

 

1. Greatest challenge of all?

Of all the teams the Golden Knights have played so far, the St. Louis, who remained tied atop the Western Conference despite Saturday's overtime loss in Vegas, have been the toughest opponent.

Tonight's opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks, may be an even stiffer challenge.

At 5-2-2, the Blackhawks are one point behind the Blues in the standings, although their success over the past decade have made them a model franchise in professional sports.

RELATED: How were other expansion teams playing through seven games?

The three-time Stanley Cup champions have become the NHL franchise that, year in and year out, is always "the team to beat." Chicago carries a deep offense, sports future Hall of Fame blueliners on defense and one of the more rabid fan bases in the league that makes itself visible at every away game the Blackhawks play.

The Golden Knights have been perhaps the NHL's best storyline at 6-1-0.

Tonight may be the truest measuring stick of all for this team, facing a squad favored by many to win yet another Stanley Cup.

 

Video: People around the Golden Knights share the stories

 

2. Who's In Goal?

In Abbott & Costello were still around, they might reboot Who's On First? with a Who's In Goal? for the Golden Knights.

With Malcolm Subban leaving Saturday's game against the St. Louis Blues in the third period, Oscar Dansk was called upon in his NHL debut to secure the victory. Dansk allowed a goal on the first shot he faced, but then rallied to stop the next 10 shots and picked up the win.

RELATED: Get to know Dansk and Lagace

Since then, Subban has been placed on IR with a lower-body injury and is expected to miss about a month. Marc-Andre Fleury has been out of action and on the IR since October 15.

With the Golden Knights' two regular goalies on IR, Dansk has been joined by Maxime Lagace, who played for Vegas during the preseason but has also yet to play an NHL game.

In fact, neither Dansk nor Lagace has ever started an NHL game, with Dansk's relief appearance on Saturday the only big league appearance between the two.

At 11:30 on Monday morning, Gallant said that Dansk will draw the start against the Blackhawks tonight, citing his relief performance against St. Louis as reasoning.

How the untested Dansk performs against the high-scoring Blackhawks tonight is a top storyline to watch.

 

Video: Vegas celebrates its 3-2 win over St. Louis

 

3. New blood for Hawks

If you look at the players driving the Blackhawks' early-season success, it's mostly the names that have driven the team every year since 2009.

Patrick Kane leads the team with 11 points (4G, 7A) in nine games. Captain Jonathan Toews has eight points (3G, 5A) in nine games and is off to his best start in years.

Other than these two franchise lynchpins, Chicago is enjoying the success of some less established players on its roster.

Ryan Hartman, who played his first full NHL season last year, has been a point per game player and has three goals and six assists. Richard Panik, a 26-year old who was discarded by both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs, found a home on Toews' wing last season and is second on the team with five goals.

Brandon Saad, a former Blackhawks reacquired by Chicago in the offseason, leads the team with six goals.

Although the Blackhawks boast a deep lineup, these aforementioned players that make up their top two lines may be the best 1-2 line in the league.

The Golden Knights will have their hands full, but will need to limit these players' chances to have a chance tonight.

Watch for a lot of matchups of Nate Schmidt and Luca Sbisa against Patrick Kane.

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