The Golden Knights trade for Mark Stone meant Alex Tuch was no longer the team’s points leader.
That might be a good thing for the 22-year-old forward, who admitted Thursday morning he’s been focused on his stats in the midst of a scoring slump.
“I mean, it’s going to happen,” Tuch said. “Honestly, it happens to everybody. They go through a little bit of a slump. I’m going through one right now, and at times I have been a little bit too worried about goals and points and stuff, and I saw my game slip away.”
Tuch has 43 points, well behind Stone’s 62, but three in his past 12 games entering Thursday. He was demoted to the third line in practice Sunday and played there again Thursday night against the Florida Panthers with Cody Eakin and Ryan Carpenter, his linemates at times during the playoffs last season.
“I like that mix,” coach Gerard Gallant said.
The early results were positive, because even though Tuch didn’t record a point in a 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday he was able to contribute. He screened Stars goaltender Ben Bishop on Max Pacioretty’s second-period power-play goal that made the score 1-1.
“Last game I wanted to get back to what I try to do best, which is skate hard, forecheck hard, be a little physical and try to get in the goalie’s eyes,” Tuch said. “I think I did a better job with that.”
Carpenter comes back
Ryan Carpenter had plenty of rust to knock off when he returned to the lineup against Dallas.
It was only the forward’s second game since the All-Star break since he sustained an upper-body injury Feb. 5, thanks to a check by Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette. Carpenter also played Thursday against the Florida Panthers.
“It seems like it’s been a while,” Carpenter said. “We had that All-Star break, and then I played in Tampa and was out for a little bit. It’s tough. You can skate as much as you want in practice, but the timing and rhythm of the game and just battles and stuff like that, you have to get back out there to feel it.”
Stone can’t hide
Stone thought he’d be recognized less in public after leaving a Canadian market for the Knights. But he found out while shopping on the Las Vegas Strip on Wednesday with teammate Cody Eakin that isn’t the case.
“I thought it was going to be a lot different than Ottawa,” Stone said. “I didn’t think too many people would recognize me in this city, but these fans, they’re Knights fans, it’s pretty cool.”