LAS VEGAS — The Vegas Golden Knights finish the regular-season home schedule of their inaugural season on Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks with a number of Fan Appreciation Week promotions.
Among other things Youth Jonathan Allen Jersey , after the game, players will hand-deliver their game-worn jerseys to select fans. And those could prove to be quite valuable if Vegas (49-22-7, 105) can garner at least one point against the Sharks.
The Golden Knights, who have already earned a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs, can clinch the Pacific Division title with one more point in their final four games. And what better place to do it than at T-Mobile Arena before finishing the regular season with a three-game western Canadian road trip to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary?
“We’re trying to get as many points as we can,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “Somebody told me we’re one point away from clinching our division. That’s what the goal is. Let’s keep battling hard and playing hard and win as many games as we can.”
It will be a quick turnaround for Vegas, which needed overtime on Friday night before defeating the St. Louis Blues, 4-3, as Jonathan Marchessault scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner 22 seconds into the extra period.
The win helped to rinse some of the bad taste out of the mouths of the Golden Knights, who lost to Arizona, 3-2, at home in a lackluster performance two nights earlier.
“Tonight, I was really happy with our performance Matt Judon Jersey , the way we competed and battled,” Gallant said. “I knew St. Louis was going to play that type of hockey game. They’re a team fighting for points, fighting for playoff position so you knew they were coming in hard. I was happy with it because it looked like a playoff game tonight.”
San Jose (44-24-10, 98) also has a lot riding on the contest. The Sharks, coming in off a tough 5-3 loss at Western Conference-leading Nashville on Thursday night, can clinch a playoff berth for the 13th time in 14 years with a victory.
“We’ve been playing playoff hockey I think for the last 10 or 15 games now,” defenseman Brenden Dillon said. “With this streak we have going (9-1-1), we’ve really put an emphasis on every night on not where the teams are in the standings and just being big-time games and showing up.”
“I think we’ve felt all year that we can play with anybody,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. “We still don’t have our whole lineup out there yet but I don’t think there’s any doubt that we can play with anybody else.”
San Jose holds a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division and has a game in hand.
The Golden Knights and Sharks have played three games this season with two of them going into overtime. Vegas won the first meeting, 5-4, in overtime on a goal by Marchessault on Nov. 24 at T-Mobile Arena and followed that up with a 5-3 win at San Jose on Feb. 8. The Sharks won the last meeting on March 22 at home, 2-1, on Logan Couture’s goal 39 seconds into OT.
A look at what’s happening around the majors Wednesday:
The Nationals could use a spark before the July 4 fireworks go off in D.C. Washington is at risk of falling below .500 for the first time since May 2 as it continues a series against Boston at 11 a.m. EDT. The Red Sox thumped the Nationals 11-4 on Tuesday, giving Washington its fourth straight loss and 16th in 21 games to fall to 42-42. That slide has the preseason NL East favorites chasing the Braves and Phillies in the division. Erick Fedde (1-3, 6.00) tries to stop Washington’s skid against Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (9-3 Youth Colin Miller Jersey , 4.11).
THE SHO GOES ON
Shohei Ohtani is back from the disabled list, albeit without full use of his electric right arm. The Japanese two-way sensation has been cleared to hit and was in the Angels’ lineup as a designated hitter Tuesday night, but he won’t be pitching anytime soon due to a Grade 2 sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament suffered more than three weeks ago. Ohtani has received stem cell therapy and a platelet-rich plasma injection on his right elbow, and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to return to the mound this year. For now, Los Angeles welcomes him as a hitter. He entered Tuesday batting .289 with a .907 OPS and six homers in 114 at-bats.
Gerrit Cole (9-2) will pitch on regular rest for the Astros after a slight tweak to their rotation. Lance McCullers Jr. was initially scheduled to start at Texas, but Cole will pitch instead. Justin Verlander (9-4) will follow Thursday at home against the White Sox and McCullers goes Friday. Manager A.J. Hinch said the switch keeps Cole and Verlander pitching every fifth day, and provides extra rest for McCullers (9-3) and Charlie Morton (10-2). The reset rotation means likely All-Star selection Verlander is scheduled for the final game before the break. ”This is always going to be the priority,” said Hinch, the All-Star manager who then won’t have Verlander available to pitch for the AL team on July 17 in Washington D.C.
Trevor Bauer tries to carry over an outstanding June when the Indians play at Kansas City. Bauer (7-6, 2.45) was 3-3 with a 2.18 ERA last month, striking out 62 batters in 41 1/3 innings. He gets probably his easiest test of the year against the Royals, who scored a major league-low 58 runs in June – the second-lowest output was Tampa Bay at 87.