David Perron was back in the Golden Knights’ lineup and Tomas Tatar was out for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals Friday at T-Mobile Arena.
Perron had missed the last two games due to illness and returned to Cody Eakin’s line alongside Ryan Carpenter as coach Gerard Gallant wanted to minimize the impact of the changes.
Alex Tuch remained with Erik Haula and James Neal on the second line. The Knights’ first and fourth lines remained unchanged.
The Jets also had a lineup change as Nikolaj Ehlers was back in after sitting out Game 3. Ehlers replaced Joel Armia. In addition, Michael Hutchinson replaced Steve Mason as the backup to starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
Haula’s short skate
Center Erik Haula looked like one of the coaches at Friday morning’s optional skate at City National Arena as he dressed in sweats and foregoing most of his equipment.
“I didn’t skate yesterday, I just wanted to go and move my legs out there for 10 minutes,” Haula explained. “I didn’t see a point of putting my gear on. I just wanted to take a couple of shots, throw the puck a little and got off quickly.
“I asked the guys who were still out there if they cared, and they said not at all.”
Wheeler not bothered
Jets forward Blake Wheeler, who had his ear tickled by Marc-Andre Fleury in the second period of Game 3, was surprised it was still a topic of discussion heading into Game 4.
“Well I didn’t clean my ears that day, so the joke’s on him,” Wheeler said. “I had no idea it happened. At breakfast (Thursday) somebody showed it to me. It doesn’t bother me, I thought it was funny.
“Like I said, things just keep getting weird. It is what it is.”
Nosek’s encounter with Buff
Knights forward Tomas Nosek found himself and teammate Colin Miller being pulled out of a scrum in front of the Knights’ goal by Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien in the second period of Game 3.
As Fleury was tickling Wheeler’s ear, Byfuglien was yanking Nosek and Miller off the pile, grabbing one with each hand. Nosek said he never saw Byfuglien coming.
“When I saw the replay, it was like five or six people in the scrum,” he said. “He pretty much pulled everyone off. I was laughing when I watched it.”
Nosek wasn’t going to debate the issue with Byfuglien, who goes 6-feet-5-inches and weights 260 pounds.
“Yeah, he’s a big guy,” Nosek said. “If somebody grabs you from behind like this, you stand up, you look at them. He was calm. So that was pretty much it.”
Game 5 watch party set
The Golden Knights will be hosting a viewing party for Sunday’s Game 5 at Toshiba Plaza.
Fans are urged to arrive by 11 a.m. for the game, which begins at noon and are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket to watch the game on the large screens outside T-Mobile Arena.
The events will feature special appearances by Chance, the Golden Aces cheerleaders, the Knight Line drumline and the Golden Knight mascot. Fans will have the chance to shop Golden Knights gear from retail trucks on-site, and there will also be a face painter on-site.
Fans can also watch the game at the Henderson Pavilion (200 South Green Valley Parkway).