COLUMBUS, Ohio — Of all the statistics in which the Golden Knights could choose to lead the league, road games played probably isn’t at the top of their list.
Monday’s game against the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena was the Knights’ 22nd away from home. No team has played more.
“I think going into this year you look at the schedule and we were on the road a lot,” defenseman Shea Theodore said. “Definitely, it’s added up, and it’s been duly noted around the room how much we’ve been on the road. It’s going to be good to finish this trip here and be at home for the majority of the next half.”
Colorado and Vancouver are the only other teams that have played 20 games on the road.
Boston played its 19th road game Monday at Montreal and leads the Eastern Conference.
The Knights are 9-12-1 away from T-Mobile Arena after going 2-1-1 on their latest road trip.
The schedule starts to even out when the Knights return home this week. They play 11 of their next 16 at home before the All-Star break at the end of January.
“That makes you miss home, it’s as simple as that,” center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said. “You can’t really look too far ahead, otherwise you kind of get tired of it. And you can’t look too much behind, otherwise you be like, ‘OK, let’s end it.’ This one was, you’re in New York a few weeks before Christmas, so it wasn’t the worst road trip ever.”
Coach Gerard Gallant has combated the heavy travel by limiting the practice schedule recently.
The Knights practiced Dec. 11, a day after arriving in New York, and switched to an optional practice Thursday in New Jersey.
They did not hold morning skates before either of the past two games.
“I think our coaching staff has been really good with us,” Bellemare said. “At times, maybe a little too nice to give us those days off.”
The Knights are on a 10-3-1 surge and own the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference but haven’t been able to gain much ground in the Pacific Division.
First-place Calgary has won three straight and is 8-1-1 in its past 10. Anaheim is riding a four-game win streak and is 9-1 in its past 10, while San Jose has won four in row.
Even Edmonton has turned it around, going 7-2-1 in its past 10 to move into the second wild-card.
“I’ve never looked as much as last year for standings,” Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault said. “It gets so tight every day. The NHL right now, it’s pretty amazing how tight it is and you don’t know who’s going to win every night. It’s definitely a treat, but you need to be ready.”
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