Puck Drop: 3:30 p.m. EST  |  Arena: T-Mobile Arena |  TV: Sportsnet |  Radio: SN 590


Game Day Quotes

Mike Babcock on the Vegas Golden Knights’ unexpected success:

They’re kind of loaded with a whole bunch of Brown’s and Hyman’s. What I mean by that is they do it right every shift and they’re of that work and class.

Babcock on the progress of the team as 2017 closes out:

We’ve gone from no expectation to expectation. The difference in what makes you happy is night and day. Last year was just kind of like a fun club, where everything is great, everything is positive. When it doesn’t go as good, let’s get ready for the next one. Nowe we’ve created expectations for ourselves. And I’m not talking about anybody else or you people — I’m talking about ourselves. So then it becomes harder. It becomes better, too. You earn the right to have expectations and you want huge expectations.

In saying that, it also becomes harder and you have to get used to it and you have to grow as a group and learn to play right every single night. That’s kind of the process we’re in. What we’ve accomplished, I think, is huge. We got a fan base now that is on side thinking we’re going in the right direction, and now we’ve got to earn the right to that support over the years to come by getting better.

Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant on playing the Leafs in the New Year’s Eve game:

It’s always fun playing the Leafs. They’re a great hockey team… the talent they’ve got – the young talent – and they’re fun to play against. You know the game is going to be watched back home by a lot of people. It’s going to be two teams that are playing real well with comparable stats. Both of us score a lot of goals. Both of our goals against are pretty much the same. It should be a good hockey game.

Gallant on the response from around the hockey world about Vegas’ surprising first half of the season:

You get so many texts from people back home from your friends and people that follow saying, “What’s going on down there?” It’s been fun and it’s been good, but the bottom line is our team works hard and there is more talent than some people give us credit for. It’s all about working hard and playing hard and doing the right things. When you get on a roll, you get more confidence. I think the guys have a lot of confidence.

Gallant on the benefits of rolling four lines and trusting all four against anybody:

I think it’s huge when you don’t wear down your players. We don’t have many players that play over 20 minutes a game. It helps your hockey club. There is no doubt the guys have lots of energy. I think it prevents injuries for your team, too, for the most part. Guys aren’t on the ice tired. When you play 82 games in a regular season, it’s a long season and you get some ups and downs. So far, our guys have been real good. What we’re doing is working. We’re not going to change it.

Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on the team’s incredible form of late:

We’ve grown as a team since the start of the season. We find different ways to win games — coming back, keeping a lead when a team is pushing back. We’ve faced some adversity, too, through injuries and I thought the goalies did a great job coming in. We’ve grown as a group. We didn’t want to just surprise people; we wanted to be successful. I’m proud of where this team is at right now.

Fleury on his team gelling so well:

We all came from different places and we had to make it work right away. We were able to develop quick chemistry in the room. We have a great group of guys. I think we know that our strength is the work ethic. Guys are consistent every night with their energy. That’s what’s helping us win games.


Matchup Stats

 TORVGK
Record23-14-225-9-2
GF/g3.33 (4th)3.44 (3rd)
GA/g2.85 (16th)2.81 (14th)
PP%22.7% (5th)
18.7% (17th)
PK%82.3% (11th)79.5% (22nd)
Shots/g30.9 (19th)32.3 (12th)
Shots Against/g33.9 (29th)30.7 (8th)
5v5 CF%49.5% (17th)50.06 (15th)
5v5 SV%.927 (12th).921 (20th)
5v5 SH%9.5% (1st)8.8% (6th)

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup

*We have added goal, assist, and point totals for each player below the lines. Total goals per line are indicated, too, as well as save percentage for goalies.

Forwards

Hyman – Matthews – Nylander
  (39-7-13-20) – (29-15-14-29) – (39-8-19-27) Total: 30
Komarov – Marleau – Brown
(38-4-5-9) – (39-14-9-23) – (39-11-5-16)  Total: 29
Van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Marner
  (38-17-10-27) – (38-7-13-20) – (39-5-24-29) Total: 29
Martin– Moore – Leivo
 (37-3-7-9) – (30-4-5-9) – (10-1-3-4)  Total: 8

Defencemen

Rielly – Hainsey
 (39-4-23-27) – (39-3-13-16) Total: 7
Gardiner – Marincin
 (39-3-16-19) – (1-0-0-0) Total: 3
Borgman – Polak
(37-2-7-9) – (20-2-2-4) Total: 4

Goaltenders

Andersen (.923 sv%)
Pickard (.919 sv%*)

*AHL

Scratched: Carrick
Injured: 
Soshnikov, Zaitsev, Kadri, McElhinney


Vegas Golden Knights Projected Lineup

Forwards

Perron – Haula – Neal
  (30-9-20-29) – (32-13-12-25) – (36-17-10-27) Total: 39
Smith – Karlsson – Marchessault
(36-9-19-28) – (36-17-12-29) – (33-13-21-34) Total: 39
Leipsic – Eakin – Tuch
  (28-1-11-12) – (36-5-12-17) – (32-8-9-17) Total: 14
Lindberg – Edouard-Bellmare – Nosek
 (35-7-1-8) – (36-3-2-5) – (34-3-5-8) Total: 13

Defencemen

McNabb – Schmidt
 (32-2-5-7) – (36-2-14-16) Total: 4
Engelland – Theodore
 (35-3-8-11) – (21-3-8-11) Total: 6
Merrill – Miller
 (11-1-1-2) – (36-5-15-20) Total: 6

Goaltenders

Subban (.926 sv%)
Fleury (.938 sv%)

Injured: Dansk, Sbisa