The Vegas Golden Knights began the 2018-19 campaign with a Stanley Cup hangover, losing 11 of their first 18 games after reaching the Final in their inaugural season. They appear to have cleared the cobwebs as they seek their seventh win in eight contests when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.
Vegas had its five-game winning streak snapped in Edmonton on Saturday but bounced back with a 5-3 home victory over Washington three days later. Defenseman Nate Schmidt scored his first two goals of the season in the final 1:25 of the third period, including the tiebreaker on a power play, and added an assist as the Golden Knights tallied four times in the session to notch their third straight win at T-Mobile Arena. Chicago is coming off a 4-2 setback in Anaheim on Wednesday that extended its losing streak to five games. Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Erik Gustafsson scored while Patrick Kane notched an assist for his team-leading 31st point as the Blackhawks fell for the seventh time in eight contests.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, SportsnetOne, Sportsnet360, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, NBCS Chicago, AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain (Vegas)
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (9-15-5): Kane's assist Wednesday gave him six points in his last six games and prevented him from being kept off the scoresheet in back-to-back contests for only the second time this season. Jonathan Toews is closing in on a pair of milestones after setting up a goal in the loss to the Ducks. The 30-year-old captain enters Thursday seven assists shy of 400 in the NHL and needs three points to reach 700 for his career.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS (15-13-1): Vegas hopes to have Max Pacioretty back in the lineup Thursday after the 30-year-old left wing sat out the win over Washington because of an illness. Pacioretty was kept off the scoresheet in Edmonton after registering eight goals and three assists during a seven-game point streak that concluded with three consecutive two-point performances. Cody Eakin has collected six points over his last four contests, with his team-leading 11th goal on Tuesday being his 200th career point.
1. Pacioretty scored only two goals in 16 contests prior to his point streak.
2. Chicago Ds Duncan Keith and rookie Henri Jokiharju both have notched 10 assists but have yet to record a goal this season.
3. Vegas C William Karlsson, who is tied for the team lead with 21 points, had his four-game goal-scoring streak halted Tuesday.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 4, Golden Knights 2 Bet Now
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