Forward Jonathan Marchessault is ready to come off the injured-reserve list, which means the Golden Knights face a quandary for Tuesday night’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Who does coach Gerard Gallant remove from a lineup that has won three straight games and is off to the best start ever by an expansion team?
Marchessault missed the past three games with a lower-body injury and skated on a line with Reilly Smith and William Karlsson during practice Sunday at City National Arena.
“I was cleared for contact, and that was a really good couple practices in a row,” Marchessault said. “I feel ready.”
Marchessault, a 30-goal scorer last season in Florida, was not officially activated from the IR by the Knights on Sunday, giving general manager George McPhee more time to figure out his next roster move.
When McPhee had a similar issue prior to the start of the season, he sent Vadim Shipachyov and Alex Tuch (along with defenseman Shea Theodore) to the American Hockey League since none of the three had to clear waivers.
McPhee was not made available to the media Sunday.
Shipachyov, who signed a two-year, $9 million contract in May, saw 10:22 of ice time on 12 shifts Saturday against St. Louis. Only his linemate Tuch (8:49, 10 shifts) and wing William Carrier (9:23, 15 shifts) saw less action.
Shipachyov did not occupy his usual spot between Tuch and Brendan Leipsic during practice Sunday — it was Oscar Lindberg at the pivot.
Rather, Shipachyov skated with the Carrier/Pierre-Edouard Bellemare/Tomas Nosek line that has been together all season.
Forward Erik Haula (lower body injury) practiced for the first time since being hurt Oct. 13 against Detroit and is aiming to return to the Knights’ lineup this week.
Haula worked out on his own Saturday and wore a red, noncontact jersey during the team’s skate Sunday.
“I’m happy with the progression that I’ve had,” Haula said. “I have one more practice (Monday), and I’m sure I’ll get an answer by then.”
Odds and ends
— Defenseman Nate Schmidt did not practice, and Gallant said it was a day off for him. Schmidt logged a team-high 23:17 of ice time against St. Louis.
— Alex Bjerk of Las Vegas, the Knights’ emergency goalie, practiced with the team, along with Oscar Dansk. Maxime Lagace had an eventful Sunday: he started for Chicago (AHL) against Tucson and made 23 saves in a 2-1 overtime win, before being recalled to join the Knights.