Golden Knights (44-19-5) at Flyers (35-23-11)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday.
WHERE: Wells Fargo Center.
BROADCAST & STREAMING: NBCSP, NBCSports.com/live, 97.5 FM
KEY PLAYERS: The Flyers are coming off Saturday’s 2-1 win over Winnipeg, which has the fifth-most points in the NHL. Now they turn the attention to Vegas, a team that has the league’s fourth-most points.
It will be a homecoming of sorts for ex-Flyers center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who was selected by Vegas in the expansion draft. Leaving the Flyers “was bittersweet for me,” Bellemare said recently. He had been named an alternate captain and had purchased a house in Philadelphia. He was establishing his roots. And then Vegas plucked him in the expansion draft.
“I was excited because you know the possibilities there,” he said.
The Golden Knights have turned those possibilities into hard-to-believe reality: They sit atop the Pacific Division and have become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. The Knights have great scoring balance and, entering Sunday, were second in the NHL with an average of 3.37 goals. Defensively, they were tied for eighth in the NHL, allowing 2.69 goals per game.
The Flyers, who scored a 4-1 win in Vegas last month, were 13th in goals scored (2.91) and tied for 13th in goals allowed (2.84). The Flyers are led by Claude Giroux (81 points), Jake Voracek (74 points, 58 assists), Sean Couturier (63 points, 29 goals, plus-25), and Shayne Gostisbehere (50 points).
Vegas is paced by Jonathan Marchessault (65 points), William Karlsson (61 points, 35 goals), David Perron (51 points), and Reilly Smith (60 points).
THINGS TO KNOW: Giroux, who is fourth the the league with 81 points, has nine goals in his last 15 games. … The Knights are 3-1 on a five-game road trip, which ends Monday. … Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who is expected to start Monday against Petr Mrazek, has 399 career wins. In his career against the Flyers, Fleury is 27-18-2 with a 2.89 goals-against average and an .899 save percentage. … Vegas’ power play is 11th (20.8 percent) while the Flyers’ is tied for 17th (20 percent) and is in a 2-for-26 funk. … The Flyers’ penalty kill has struggled all season and is 29th (75.5 percent); Vegas’ PK is 15th at 80.5 percent. … The Knights’ Gerard Gallant is the overwhelming coach-of-the-year favorite.
HEAD TO HEAD: The Flyers, thanks to Couturier’s three points and Michal Neuvirth’s 38 saves, scored a 4-1 win in Vegas on Feb. 11 in the first-ever meeting between the teams. Fleury was the loser.
COMING FLYERS GAMES:
Thursday: 7 p.m. vs. Columbus.
Saturday: 7 p.m. at Carolina.
Sunday: 5 p.m. vs. Washington.