After a somewhat rocky start, Ryan Reaves appears to have settled in on the Golden Knights’ fourth line.
Reaves, who was acquired by the Knights Feb. 23 from the Pittsburgh Penguins, is coming off a solid road trip where he forechecked well, helped out in the defensive end and stayed out of the penalty box. It was a far cry from his debut, which saw Reaves struggle to keep his emotions in check in back-to-back games against Los Angeles Feb. 26-27 and take three trips to the box.
“I have a very defined role and I don’t stray from that,” Reaves said Wednesday prior to the Knights facing the New Jersey Devils. “It’s been easy to get along with these guys and they’ve made me feel at home.”
Reaves has developed some chemistry alongside Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Tomas Nosek. Reaves has been getting scoring chances near the front of the net, and while he has yet to score and has just one assist, he’s hoping to contribute more offensively.
“It’s easy, he’s got a little bit of an edge to him,” Reaves said of Bellemare. “He knows how to play with a player like me. He’s not expecting me to dangle it at the blue line and he knows how to grind. He knows how to make those plays down low which really helps the line so it’s been an easy transition.”
James Neal was on the ice during the morning skate Wednesday, participating in drills while wearing a red non-contact jersey after injuring his hand Feb. 26. Neal was not in the lineup against the Devils, missing his eighth straight game.
Reilly Smith skated after the morning workout and missed his fourth straight game after sustaining an upper-body injury March 6 against Columbus. Neither Neal nor Smith were made available to the media per team policy regarding injured players
Goaltender Malcolm Subban, who was injured Feb. 8 in the morning skate at San Jose and has been out since with an upper-body injury, was also on the ice late and worked with goaltending coach David Prior.
Coach Gerard Gallant said Neal is getting closer to returning while Smith and Subban are making progress. But Gallant would not say when any of the trio will return to the lineup. He also did not have any updates on Will Carrier, Oscar Lindberg and Luca Sbisa.
“This is the time of the year where you want to make sure they’re ready to go,” Gallant said. “You want to make sure they’re 100 percent.”
Contact Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal,.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.