The Golden Knights are coming out of Christmas break in first place in the Pacific Division and eight points ahead of tonight’s opponent, the Anaheim Ducks. Last time the two teams faced was on December 5th, when Vegas won in a shootout. After the loss, Anaheim players or coaches didn’t seem to be upset. In fact, that’s when Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle joked about the Golden Knights fortunate luck.
"What are the Golden Knights doing to beat you?" -SinBin
"They get lucky." -Randy Carlyle
"They played us much better in Anaheim than they did tonight. Ask me that question again at the end of the year." -Carlyle
(He was kidding, but kinda not really)
— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) December 6, 2017
At the time, I sensed a satisfied head coach leaving the toughest arena in hockey with one point. Carlyle knew his team wasn’t complete and things could be different the next time they faced the Golden Knights. Since Captain Ryan Getzlaf returned on December 11th, the Ducks have earned nine points in seven games. Also, after trading for Adam Henrique, Anaheim has a point in nine of the twelve games he’s played in. Not to mention, Henrique executed this season’s most amazing goal.
When you add a center like Getzlaf back in the mix, the Ducks immediately become a playoff contender. The prototypical center is big, strong, plays all three zones, and has one of a kind ice vision. In limited action, Getzlaf leads the league with 1.08 assists per game. His career average over 13 seasons is 0.68 assists per game. To compare, David Perron leads Vegas with 0.71 assists per game.