The Columbus Blue Jackets are in Las Vegas to take on the Golden Knights for the first time ever— The CBJ aren’t the youngest franchise in the league anymore. They’ll face the new guys tonight. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 10:00 PM ET.
The challenges of being an expansion team are well understood by the Blue Jackets, who are still fighting to be a contender in the National Hockey League. The Golden Knights on the other hand, have had no problems becoming relevant in this league.
With 66 points, they’re the best team in the Western Conference and have been at or near the top of the entire NHL for most of the season. They’ve thrived at home, where they’re 18-2-2.
William Karlsson, who was the Knights’ expansion choice from the Blue Jackets, has been playing out of his mind this year. Through 43 games with Vegas this year, he’s scored 25 goals, good for sixth in the NHL.
If you add together the Blue Jackets’ top two goal-scorers totals from this season, you get 26.
In net for the Golden Knights for seven of their last nine games has been a familiar foe for the CBJ: Marc Andre Fleury. Although he missed a significant amount of time due to a concussion earlier in the year, Fleury ranks first in both goals-allowed average and save percentage.
The CBJ, who have been struggling on offense lately, enter the game with the 28th ranked offense in the NHL. Although they’re only 10-10-2 since the beginning of December, the Jackets are still hanging around in the Metropolitan Division, currently sitting in third place.
The Jackets are in an odd portion of their schedule as they’ll be playing their second game in a span of 11 days. Tuesday marks the beginning of a brief two-game road trip before the team has another five days off before heading back home next week.
They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but the Blue Jackets are looking to take two points home with them from their trip to the “Sin City.” While it’ll be a late night for Jackets fans in Columbus who want to catch the game, the team’s first game in Vegas could be something worth staying up for.