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Golden Knights At Canadiens: 3 Keys To The Game

Tuesday;s game starts at 4:30 PM. 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

Eleven days and 3,764 miles later, here we are.

The end of the Golden Knights' longest road trip of the season.

Six games later, here we are.

In Montreal.

For Vegas, what happens in Tuesday's game against the Montreal Canadiens will define how this trip is remembered. The Golden Knights are only 1-3-1 on this road trip so far, although a win against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and hard fought shootout loss - and standings point - against the Maple Leafs on Monday have salvaged what started as a disastrous 0-3-0 start.

Although win on Tuesday would put the Golden Knights at 2-3-1 for the trip - not that bad. While another defeat would drop Vegas to 1-4-1 - not very good at all.

Of course, the Golden Knights are still 9-4-1 for the season, with the third best record in the Western Conference.

But how Tuesday goes will dictate the tenor around the team as it heads back to Las Vegas after the game.

Tuesday's game can be seen at 4:30 PM (PT).

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 Tuesday's game.

Video: VGK Recap: Golden Knights drop to Leafs in SO, 4-3


1. Is Fatigue A Factor

Following Monday's game in Toronto, the Golden Knights didn't arrive at their hotel in Montreal until after 1:00 AM local time. Playing the second half of a back-to-back, at the end of 11 straight days on the road…Vegas has every reason to be feeling some fatigue.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, have also been away from home for more than a week, last playing at Bell Centre on October 28. Montreal, however, won three of four games on its trip, and had Monday off after defeating Chicago on Sunday.

Coming home, and getting the chance to refresh should have the Canadiens feeling well rested. The Golden Knights are coming in having every reason to be feeling the effects of the road.

For Vegas, its ability to contend with its fatigue against a club that's better rested will be worth watching.

 

Video: Gerard Gallant spoke after Monday's game in Toronto


2. Lagace Vs. Lindgren?

It seems likely that Maxime Lagace will draw another start for the Golden Knights. And on Tuesday morning, the Canadiens announced their plan to start rookie Charlie Lindgren in goal, with star Carey Price still nagged by injury

 

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Head coach Claude Julien confirms that @CharlieLindgren will start in goal tonight. @KidHud_10 is a game-time decision. #GoHabsGo

 

While Gallant has yet to confirm if Lagace will start again tonight's matchup should feature one goalie in Lagace with five games of NHL experience, and another in Lindgren with four games in the league.

Should Lagace not start and Dylan Ferguson draw in, that would be a goalie without any professional experience, either in the NHL or in the minors.

There is so much to unpack here.

Lagace, normally an AHLer, only played his first NHL game last week, when Oscar Dansk became the third Vegas netminder to head to IR. Now he's played more games in goal than any goalie in team history.

Lagace's 1-3-1 in his career, and while having rebounded nicely in the past two games, has still looked quite leaky at times.

Lindgren, on the other hand, is coming off a shutout of the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, his only game played this season. Although it should be noted that he played in three prior games over the past two seasons and won all of those, too.

At the same time, Lindgren is incredibly unproven and how he performs tonight is a major wildcard.

As how Lagace would perform is a wildcard for Vegas.

Two goalies, both with five games or fewer of NHL experience, is a fascinating storyline.


Note: This goaltending matchup has not yet been confirmed.

Video: Lagace comments after VGK's shootout loss in Toronto


3. Set The Mood

Since Vegas started out the season 3-0-0 and 8-1-0, the mood around this team has been consistently upbeat. Then again, that happens when you get off to this sort of start as an expansion team, from whom little was expected.

How the Golden Knights come out of tonight will either set, or reset the mood of this team.

Despite going on the longest road trip of the season, relying on the team's fourth string goalie, 1-3-1 isn't a mark any team would want to have through five games. Vegas has been in every game it has played, but the results just haven't always been there.

Should the Golden Knights lose again tonight, it would conclude the road trip at 1-4-1. Not good stuff, regardless of who's in goal.

But if Vegas can squeak out a win.

In the second half of back-to-back games. In front of a hockey-mad crowd in Montreal. On the final day of an 11-day road trip.

If the Golden Knights can do this, a 2-3-1 road trip will seem acceptable. 10-4-1 heading home...what else could you ask for?

As this segment of the schedule concludes, Vegas will settle into a more traditional home/away split, rather than the lengthy homestands and road trips it has had so far. Tonight is the end of the beginning of the season.

Either way, the Golden Knights will head home to face Winnipeg on Friday with a far better record than many expected of them.

But how tonight goes will decide if the team is perceived to be trending upwards or downwards.

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