WINNIPEG, Manitoba — With William Carrier still not ready to return, Ryan Reaves kept his spot on the Golden Knights’ fourth line for Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday.
Reaves also was playing in his hometown, as was his teammate, Knights center Cody Eakin. But he wasn’t placing any added significance to it.
“The only difference is my family gets to see me play,” Reaves said Saturday following the team’s morning skate at Bell MTS Place. “Other than that, it’s just another team we’ve got to beat.”
Reaves did acknowledge the rabid Jets fans will create an electric atmosphere.
“It’s a passionate fan base here and you see outside the rink there’s thousands of people standing out there in the cold, watching games,” he said. “The city loves the hockey team, and obviously there’s a lot of hype around the Jets. It’s going to be a fun series.”
Reaves said he will have his own fans rooting for him starting with his brother Jordan, who was easily distinguishable among the 15,000-plus white-clad Winnipeg fans in his gray No. 75 Golden Knights sweater.
“No, he’ll be bringing a little black to the whiteout tonight, that’s for sure,” he said.
Reaves said his role won’t change even though the opponent is different.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I think this team brings a little more physicality too, so I definitely gotta counter that and bring that to the lineup.
“They’re fast and they’ve got size and they play physical. They play with speed. They’ve got a good balance of everything on their team. Their D are active, they jump in to the rush and you’ve got to make sure you are coming back hard because they have four or five guys on the rush and can make you pay.”
Carrier is on the trip but did not participate in Saturday’s morning skate. According to coach Gerard Gallant, Carrier remains day-to-day.
D’Uva misses game
Knights radio play-by-play announcer Dan D’Uva was forced to miss Game 1 Saturday because of a family wedding in New Jersey.
Dave Goucher, the team’s television play-by-play announcer, worked the game on radio along with regular broadcast partner Shane Hnidy. D’Uva is expected back for Game 2 Monday.
Red Rock watch party
The team will sponsor an official watch party for Game 2 on Monday at the Red Rock Resort pool.
The even begins at 5 p.m. and is free. Parking is also free at Red Rock’s surface lots and garages.