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6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 18, 2019
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado  Attendance: 17,808

Avalanche aim to shift momentum in matchup vs. Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche

  1. The Golden Knights are 3-0-1 all-time against the Avalanche, having outscored Colorado 14-3. Vegas' goaltenders have posted a .976 save percentage in those four games, the highest save percentage by any team against a conference opponent over the past two seasons.
  2. The Golden Knights avoided a sixth straight home loss by defeating the Predators in Vegas on Saturday, 5-1. Vegas put 41 shots on goal over the first two periods of the game and finished with 50 in total. The Knights have 14 games with 40-plus shots this season, tied with the Canadiens for most in the NHL.
  3. The Avalanche were shut out by the Blues in Denver on Saturday, 3-0. Through its first 29 games of the season, Colorado went 17-7-5 and was tied for the conference lead in points earned with Nashville (39) on December 6. In its last 29 games, Colorado has gone 6-17-6 and is currently out of the playoff places.
  4. Brandon Pirri scored his 10th goal of the season, his third game-winner, in the win over the Preds. Of the 42 skaters who have netted 10-plus times since December 20, Pirri's first game this season, only one skater has averaged fewer shifts per game than Pirri (17.3) [Conor Garland, Ari -- 16.6].
  5. Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon were both in the NHL's top five in pre-All-Star break scoring with 1.48 (third) and 1.42 (tied for fifth) points per game, respectively. In eight games since the All-Star break, Rantanen has two points and MacKinnon has four.
  6. Paul Stastny played eight seasons with the Avalanche from 2006-07 to 2013-14. He has scored the third-most goals in the history of the Pepsi Center (92) behind former Avs Milan Hejduk (188) and Joe Sakic (119) and just ahead of current Avs skater Gabriel Landeskog (86).

With his team struggling, Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant shook up his lines for a game against Nashville on Saturday. The formula worked and the Golden Knights salvaged the final game of their four-game homestand with a win over the Predators.

Gallant's strategy might have been a wake-up call for Vegas, which had lost seven of its last nine before Saturday. Now the Golden Knights will try to carry that momentum into Monday night's game at the Colorado Avalanche.

The changes seemed to benefit forward Max Pacioretty, who scored two goals against the Predators. He ended a five-game goal drought and had his first multi-goal game since Nov. 29.

"When you're losing, you have to try new things, don't you?" Gallant said Saturday. "The team hasn't been good enough. Thursday night, they were minus-3. But it's not about our line, it's about our team. Some nights, it's the so-called first line. When you're winning, it's different lines that carry you. When you're losing, it's the same thing. I'm not blaming those guys. I'm just trying to make our team better. Hopefully, you maybe shake up a few things and find some magic."

Colorado coach Jared Bednar has tried everything to shake his team out of a slump that is now in its third month. The Avalanche (23-24-11) have lost nine of their last 10 and six in a row on home ice. They have rarely put together a complete game since early December when they were atop the Western Conference standings. Some nights they are scoring but the defense and goaltending is absent. Other nights they get good goaltending but can't score.

That was the case against St. Louis on Saturday. It was a scoreless game into the third and then the Blues scored twice in a minute and added an empty-netter in a 3-0 win. Colorado had 32 shots on goal but couldn't solve Blues goalie Jake Allen.

"The past two games defensively we've been doing good things, but the offense, it's tough right now, tough to find the back of the net," forward Mikko Rantanen said after Saturday's loss.

The Avalanche are quickly falling out of playoff contention after losing 23 of their last 29 games. Colorado has picked up just 20 points since Dec. 7.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves, we just have to keep pounding ahead," Rantanen said. "There's a lot of games left. This was a really important game and it sucks to lose. We can't get stuck in the mud, we have to forget and move on."

Vegas (32-24-4) is securely in third place in the Pacific Division but has fallen nine points behind Calgary and San Jose in a division it won as an expansion team last year. The Golden Knights haven't had the same success this year but are still in a playoff position.

They also have found some depth at goaltending. After Marc-Andre Fleury allowed 17 goals in four straight starts, Vegas plugged rookie Malcom Subban into the lineup for just the eighth time this year on Saturday vs. the Predators, and he stopped 29 shots to help the Golden Knights end a five-game home losing streak.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 17, 2019

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