If the Golden Knights want to enter the NHL All-Star break on a winning streak, they’ll have to earn it.
The Knights head into the break with three consecutive games against teams in line to make the playoffs entering Friday’s games: Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Nashville. Vegas welcomes the Penguins at 7 p.m. Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
“You had Winnipeg last game, then Pittsburgh and Minnesota and Nashville. Those are all elite teams in this league,” defenseman Deryk Engelland said. “We have to take it one game at a time, but they’re definitely measuring sticks for us. … It’s a challenge for everyone in this room. You’re going up against some of the best players in the world, and you want to see how you match up against them.”
The Knights, despite a 14-5-3 record in December and January, have something to prove during this stretch. They’re 8-11-1 against teams in line to make the playoffs.
“I look at our guys, we’ve got three big games at home before we’ve got the break, so let’s get ready for all these games,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “Any time you play a team with Pittsburgh’s success, they’re always big games to play. You sort of set your team up with that.”
Forwards Reilly Smith (injured reserve, undisclosed) and William Carrier (IR, illness) and goaltender Malcolm Subban (undisclosed) didn’t practice Friday, and Gallant said they wouldn’t play Saturday.
But he didn’t rule them out for the team’s other two games before the All-Star break.
“If they feel ready to go for one of the last two games, we’ll put them in there,” Gallant said. “But we’ve got to make sure they’re ready.”
The Vegas Jr. Golden Knights Pee-Wee AA team will play in the Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament from Feb. 13 to 24 in Quebec City, general manager George McPhee announced Friday.
Some big things are happening for the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights Pee-Wee AA team…
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 18, 2019
It’s the first time the team will travel to a tournament. Cirque du Soleil will help reduce the club’s costs.
Current Knights Marc-Andre Fleury, Paul Stastny, Alex Tuch and Max Pacioretty have played in the event, among others, as well as current NHL stars Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Steven Stamkos.
Pirri bows out of Classic
Knights forward Brandon Pirri was officially removed from the American Hockey League All-Star Classic roster Friday, the Chicago Wolves announced.
Brandon Pirri officially has been removed from the 2019 @TheAHL All-Star Classic roster. He was not replaced by another Wolves skater.@dancarr9 and @brannstromerik are still ready to play in Springfield on Jan. 27-28.#Wolves25#LastTeamStanding
— Chicago Wolves (@Chicago_Wolves) January 18, 2019
Forward Daniel Carr and defenseman Erik Brannstrom will represent the Wolves.