Golden Knights defenseman Jon Merrill got his first point in more than two months when he recorded an assist Tuesday.
He followed with his first goal of the season in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to San Jose at T-Mobile Arena that ended the Knights’ seven-game winning streak.
“He’s played real well lately, for sure,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “I guess he’s in a routine of playing a lot of hockey right now, and I really like what he’s doing for us.”
Merrill, 26, has picked up the slack in the absence of injured defenseman Colin Miller, partnering with Nick Holden.
Merrill has been active for five straight games and eight of nine after he had been scratched in 17 of the previous 18.
“It’s nice to get a bunch of wins,” Merrill said before Thursday’s loss. “If I do my job and the team wins, I’m happy. Hopefully we can keep winning and that will keep me in the lineup.”
Merrill, a former University of Michigan standout, gave the Knights a brief 2-1 lead in the third period Thursday when he took a pass from Brandon Pirri just inside the blue line and wired a shot past San Jose goaltender Martin Jones.
Winger Valentin Zykov, who made his debut Thursday after being claimed on waivers Dec. 29, is the only player to appear for the Knights without a goal.
Merrill has one goal and four points in 26 appearances.
“It was nice to contribute, but it’s tough to think about it too much when you come out on the wrong side of it,” Merrill said.
The Knights will host a watch party at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at City National Arena for the game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
There also will be an event for Tuesday’s game at Winnipeg at 5 p.m. at Nacho Daddy (9560 W. Sahara Ave.).