Home at last.
6,343 miles later, the Golden Knights are home at last!
After a 1-4-1 road trip to the east coast, which saw Vegas' record drop from 8-1-0 to 9-5-1, a return to T-Mobile Arena couldn't come sooner.
Especially since after tonight's game vs. the Winnipeg Jets, the Golden Knights head back out to play two more games on the road, while 8 of the next 14 will be away from the friendly confines of Las Vegas.
The challenge the Jets pose is significant, too.
The two teams enter tonight with 19 points apiece, tied for third most in the Western Conference.
Friday's game can be seen at 7:30 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 Friday's game.
Video: George McPhee addresses media on Thursday
1. Home Cooking
Long before the 2017-18 season started, it was a joke amongst hockey people:
"Golden Knights going undefeated at home."
This was in reference, of course, to the trappings of the road that this city may present to visiting teams, especially those coming to Las Vegas for the first time.
Through the first five weeks of the season, the Golden Knights are 6-1-0 at home, and 3-4-1 on the road.
While this team isn't exactly undefeated at home, this split has been incredibly stark thus far.
With tonight's game being the lone home contest for the Golden Knights in a span of 24 days, it would really behoove this team to take advantage of it.
Especially when you factor in that the Jets have actually been in Las Vegas for FOUR days already, arriving shortly after their most recent game -a 4-1 win-on Monday in Dallas.
Video: VGK Recap: Golden Knights drop road game to Habs, 3-2
2. Must. Start. Better.
The Golden Knights' two most recent games were close
Vegas lost 3-2 to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, and went into a shootout before losing 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.
While the margin in these games was incredibly thin, the Golden Knights nearly got blown out at the beginning of both.
On Tuesday, the Golden Knights were down 2-0 10:55 into the game, and only had three shots in the first period. Toronto also scored twice within the game's first 10 minutes on Monday and was ahead 3-1 through 20 minutes.
Although the Golden Knights only allowed a combined one goal during the second and third period of these games, and battled back and even earned a point in the standings, the NHL just isn't a league where you can put yourself behind the 8-Ball like this.
For Maxime Lagace, the fourth string goalie for the Golden Knights who's been thrust into the spotlight since Oscar Dansk went down to injury on October 29, he's going to have to make big saves early in this game.
In the end, what really matters is how many you give up in the entire game.
But for Lagace, and the Golden Knights, he'll have to step up early in tonight's game to allow Vegas to play a game, rather than chase a game, for the first time since last week.
3. High-Flying Jets
Since moving to Winnipeg from Atlanta in 2011, the Jets have made the playoffs only one time. And they were swept in the first round.
The 2017-18 Jets aren't these Jets.
4-0-1 in its last five games, Winnipeg has been rolling ever since 24-year-old goalie Connor Hellebuyck has assumed the starting role over veteran free agent signing Steve Mason.
Hellebuyck is 8-0-2, and is second in the league with a .936 save percentage and third with a 2.12 goals-against average.
Coupled with a pair of forwards in Blake Wheeler (21 points in 14 games) and Mark Scheifele (18 points in 14 games) who are having league leader-type seasons, Winnipeg has an 8-3-3 record, good for third in the Western Conference.