This post will be updated throughout the game
PRE GAME: Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Phillip Grubauer is the battle in net tonight. Knights top goal scorer, Max Pacioretty returns from a lower body injury.
FIRST PERIOD: Knights Max Pacioretty (17) scores :40 seconds into the game. Assists to Mark Stone (27), Alec Martinez (14). KNIGHTS 1, AVALANCHE 0, early in first period
KNIGHTS 1, AVALANCHE 0 after one period. Shots on goal: Avalanche 12, Knights 7.
SECOND PERIOD: Avalanche Joonas Donskoi (11) scores on the power play, assists: Samuel Girard (20) and Devon Toews (13) . KNIGHTS 1, AVALANCHE 1, early in second period.
Avalanche J.T. Compher (Backhand shot) scores, AVALANCE 2, KNIGHTS 1, midway through period.
Avalanche score Cale Makar (3) (Wrist shot), Assists: Logan O’Connor (1) and Gabriel Landeskog (18). AVALANCHE 3, KNIGHTS 1.
Avalanche score Gabriel Landeskog (11) (Wrist shot), Assists: Mikko Rantanen (20) and Cale Makar (16), AVALANCHE 4, KNIGHTS 1.
THIRD PERIOD: Avalanche goal by former Knights player Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (4) (Snap shot), Assist: J.T. Compher (4) . AVALANCE 5, KNIGHTS 1
AVALANCHE 5, KNIGHTS 1 final. Shots on goal: Avalanche 32, Knights 18.
Vegas Golden Knights (22-7-1, first in the West Division) vs. Colorado Avalanche (20-8-3, second in the West Division)
Denver; Thursday, 6 p.m. PDT
BOTTOM LINE: The two best teams in the West Division face off when the Colorado Avalanche take on the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Avalanche are 20-8-3 in division play. Colorado ranks 16th in the league with 35.3 shots per game and is averaging 3.4 goals.
The Golden Knights are 22-7-1 against West Division teams. Vegas is sixth in the Nhl averaging 3.3 goals per game, led by Max Pacioretty with 16.
In their last matchup on Feb. 22, Vegas won 3-0. Alex Tuch recorded a team-high 2 points for the Golden Knights.
TOP PERFORMERS: Nathan MacKinnon leads the Avalanche with 25 assists and has 35 points this season. Gabriel Landeskog has nine assists over the last 10 games for Colorado.
Pacioretty leads the Golden Knights with 16 goals and has 30 points. Mark Stone has seven goals over the last 10 games for Vegas.
LAST 10 GAMES: Avalanche: 7-1-2, averaging 4.2 goals, 7.9 assists, 3.2 penalties and 6.9 penalty minutes while giving up two goals per game with a .913 save percentage.
Golden Knights: 7-3-0, averaging 3.4 goals, 5.6 assists, 2.6 penalties and 6.4 penalty minutes while allowing 2.1 goals per game with a .920 save percentage.
INJURIES: Avalanche: Conor Timmins: day to day (upper body), Dennis Gilbert: out (face).
Golden Knights: Alex Pietrangelo: out (undisclosed).