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Golden Knights At Sharks: 3 Keys To The Game

Thursday's game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Radio 98.9 FM/1340 AM at 7:30 PT

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Ladies and gentlemen, your undefeated Vegas Golden Knights!

Well sure, Vegas' wins in Vancouver and Colorado earlier this week don't count in the standings. Nor will the result of Thursday's game in San Jose.

Tonight's game against the Sharks is only the third of Vegas' seven preseason games.

The regular season won't begin until October 6 in Dallas.

Although in the meantime, for a team that's never played a regular-season game, these preseason results have been fun to watch so far.

Here are three keys to tonight's game in San Jose.

1. Pickard between the pipes

Goaltending is the only position where the Golden Knights' roster is pretty much already solidified. Marc-Andre Fleury will be the team's No 1 during the regular season, while Calvin Pickard will be his backup.

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Calvin Pickard comments on making his Golden Knights debut tonight�� pic.twitter.com/914g76VfFu

 

Dylan Ferguson, a teenage prospect who has since been returned to juniors, got the win on Sunday in Vancouver.

Maxime Lagace and Oscar Dansk, who'll probably form a tandem with the AHL's Chicago Wolves, split time on Tuesday in Colorado.

But with Pickard (backed up by Lagace) in the lineup tonight, it'll be our first taste of one of the goalies who should start the season with the Golden Knights.

2. The games are getting a little more serious

On Sunday, with Canucks veterans en route to China for exhibition games, Vancouver dressed a very young lineup. And Vegas' youngsters crushed them.

The Avalanche dressed a lot of young players on Tuesday, too.

Although Gerard Gallant has said that he doesn't usually try to have his team ready for the regular season until the final couple days of training camp, the tone of games is starting to shift.

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: We play 7 preseason games. Tonight's the third. Gallant comments on how close the games are getting to the level of regular season games. pic.twitter.com/cL0CWDxnaK

 

We're no longer early in training camp. Now we're in the middle.

And playing in San Jose - one of the more difficult venues for visitors, preseason or not - we can expect the Golden Knights to face far better competition on Thursday than in the team's first two games.

 

3. Have another Glass

After the Golden Knights released 10 players from training camp on Wednesday, the makeup of camp has become significantly more veteran. And especially with most of the players being released back to their junior teams, the presence of Cody Glass in Thursday's lineup is worth noting.

Glass was the first Golden Knights Entry Draft pick in team history in June and No. 6 overall in the league.

 

Video: Glass scores his first goal and puts Vegas ahead 2-0

 

This center had 94 points this past season and is still only 18, so figures to be a centerpiece of the Golden Knights' future.

In the present, however, George McPhee and Gerard Gallant have basically said that teenage prospects would have to "dominate" in training camp to have even a chance to start the season in the NHL. The team's philosophy has been to advance players slowly, as to not mis-develop their talent.

Glass has talent, and he has two assists on Sunday in Vancouver. He had a goal and two assists in his final Rookie Camp game in LA last week.

It's still an uphill battle for Glass to make the team this season. But with him in the lineup on Thursday and the team having begun cutting players from camp, how he plays in San Jose could dictate if he remains in training camp in coming days.

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