Max Pacioretty has been teammates with Oscar Lindberg for five months, but he didn’t fully appreciate the Swedish forward’s game until they were paired together.
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant put the two wingers with center Cody Eakin on Saturday against the Nashville Predators and the group combined for five points in a 5-1 win.
“He’s a really good wall player, something you don’t notice until you play with (him),” Pacioretty, who had two goals, said. “Always making that right play on the wall, and that just makes it easy coming out of our end. We got a lot of opportunities from that because of (Eakin’s) speed, able to back off defenders and then play in their end.”
Lindberg’s work on the boards made breakouts easier and the Knights’ third line feasted with a 7-1 edge in scoring chances versus their counterparts on the ice. The 27-year-old also contributed offensively as the team ended a five-game home losing streak.
Lindberg picked up a goal and an assist for his second two-point game of the season.
“The whole team, I don’t know how many in a row we’ve been losing here at home, so we kind of said, ‘Go out there and play a hard, physical game’ and it worked out for us,” Lindberg said.
Lindberg wants to continue that physical play as he seeks to stay in the lineup for the fourth straight game.
“He’s a great player,” Pacioretty said Saturday. “Every time he’s kind of been inserted into a different role he’s always seemed to find a way to contribute. He was very effective tonight. He made life pretty easy on me and (Eakin), and we want to build off that.”
Theodore goes right
Knights defenseman Shea Theodore said he played on the right side against the Nashville Predators for the first time in the NHL.
The team mixed up its defensive pairs Saturday and Theodore, who normally plays on the left side with right-shot defenseman Deryk Engelland, skated with left-shot defenseman Brayden McNabb. The two worked well in their first game together as McNabb was a team-best plus-4 and Theodore was plus-3.
“I played the majority of juniors on the right side because I was paired with a lefty,” Theodore said. “A little bit in the minors when I was with San Diego. It’s a difference but it’s not too big of a deal.”
Schmidt takes his time
Defenseman Nate Schmidt, who moved to the left side to play with Engelland, played a season-high 26:49 against Nashville.
Schmidt was also more active offensively with his new partner and finished with four shots on goal, tied for his third highest total of the season.
“We want our defensemen to join the rush like any other team, but we don’t want it to cost us odd man rushes the other way,” Gallant said. “I thought he did a great job, Nate is a great skater. He did it three or four times tonight and I thought he did a good job.”