WASHINGTON — Tomas Tatar’s patience was rewarded Monday.
The Golden Knights forward had yet to appear in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final and last played in a game on May 16 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. But that changed when Gerard Gallant replaced David Perron with the veteran for Game 4 against the Washington Capitals.
“It’s not an easy position, but when you do everything for a win, it’s just the way it is,” Tatar said. “Sometimes you have to put your personal stuff beside and you just want to focus and do the best thing for a team to win a game.”
Gallant said the Knights were looking for a boost offensively. Tatar skated with Cody Eakin and Ryan Carpenter on the third line, with Gallant moving Alex Tuch up to the second line with Erik Haula and James Neal.
“Putting Tatar in is no issue,” Gallant said. “We haven’t played good hockey and coaches make decisions. I told you all year long, the four or five players sitting out, they’re all good hockey players. They can come in our lineup at any time at all. We’ve done it in the other series when we’ve won or lost games. I think Tatar’s ready to go.”
Tatar said he understood the expectations being inserted into the lineup.
“It’s not easy to jump in, but that’s what everybody’s waiting for,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been waiting for, to get the chance, and that chance came.”
No more hot laps
Jonathan Marchessault opted not to do a “hot lap” around the rink at Monday’s morning skate at Capital One Arena.
Marchessault said with the Knights having lost Game 3, it was time to retire the hot lap.
”I mean we lost the last game,” he said. “We won Game 2, Game 5 in Winnipeg and we lost Saturday), so the hot lap is done.”
Dahlin’s first game
Sweden defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is going to participate in plenty of NHL games next season after the projected No. 1 overall pick in the draft gets taken by the Buffalo Sabres. But Dahlin had never seen an NHL game in person until Monday.
Dahlin and several other prospects were guests of the league for Game 4. He got to meet Capitals star and fellow countryman Nicklas Backstrom at the Capitals’ morning skate and later met Knights general manager George McPhee. He also got to meet Hockey Night In Canada’s Don Cherry.
“He had a sick suit,” Dahlin said of Cherry. “My dad watched his shows when I was growing up so I knew. Don Cherry always has nice suits.
“I didn’t say so much on the show. I just wanted to take a picture. He said to me, ‘Thumbs up’ so I did the thumbs up.”