Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant drove home Sunday night still hurting from his team’s 2-1 double overtime loss against the San Jose Sharks in Game 6.
Then he got home, flipped on the television to CNN and started mentally preparing for Tuesday’s Game 7. And he expects his team to turn the page as quickly as he did.
“I would have had some good plans for dinner last night if we would have won, but it all changes and you forget about it and you move on to the next game,” Gallant said. “Last night was a heartbreaker, but by the time I got home everything was fine. You get ready for the next one.”
Gallant said his team has reset “real good” all season and he expects the same for the first Game 7 in the Knights’ brief history. The Knights were 19-15-3 after a loss in the regular season with a plus-3 goal differential, and 9-7-1 with a plus-four goal differential after two consecutive losses.
“Any time you lose a game like (Game 6), it’s tough,” defenseman Deryk Engelland said. “I’d rather be done, that’s for sure. That’s what you play for, those games, those huge games, huge moments. We’ve just got to regroup and be ready to go next game.”
Gallant said he and his staff will contemplate lineup changes after Sunday’s marathon, which at 91 minutes, 17 seconds was the second-longest game in team history.
“We’re going to think about that today for sure,” Gallant said. “That’s definitely a possibility. Not saying we’re going to do it, just saying we’re talking about it and looking at it.”
The Knights have kept the same forward lines every game this series so Ryan Carpenter, Brandon Pirri, Valentin Zykov and new addition Nikita Gusev haven’t appeared. Defenseman Nick Holden played in Game 1 but was replaced by Colin Miller the next five games.
“I think if a guy jumps into our lineup, he’s going to be real excited and real happy,” Gallant said. “We’ve got some good players that haven’t played yet. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully there’s nothing wrong when the trainers come and talk to me today about injuries, so we’ll see.”
Gallant said some players were nursing minor injuries but didn’t specify which ones.
The Knights were 3-0 last postseason when given a chance to eliminate an opponent, but they’re already 0-2 this year after failing to close out the Sharks in Games 5 and 6.
They’re 0-1 when facing elimination after the Washington Capitals defeated them 4-3 in Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
The Sharks are 6-4 all-time as a franchise in Game 7s and 3-1 in Game 7s at home.
“Guys will be ready, definitely,” Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said. “I like being on home ice for Game 7, but there is a lot of work and effort that need to go into it. It’s not over.”
The Knights will host a Game 7 watch party at Toshiba Plaza outside T-Mobile Arena.
The event is free and fans are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket. Toshiba Plaza will open at 5 p.m. in advance of the 7 p.m. puck drop.
(Ice time leaders in Game 6)
— William Karlsson — 30:25
— Mark Stone — 29:28
— Max Pacioretty — 27:21
— Brayden McNabb — 35:34
— Shea Theodore — 33:04
— Deryk Engelland — 30:00