Tomas Tatar knows why he’s with the Golden Knights.
He was acquired from the Detroit Red Wings by general manager George McPhee to score goals. And with that mandate comes some pressure to produce.
The 27-year-old wing made his debut with the Knights on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings at T-Mobile Arena. Tatar knows there are certain expectations.
“I try not to think about it too much,” said Tatar, who will wear No. 90 and was teamed with Tomas Hyka on the other wing and center Cody Eakin. “I just want to chip in as much as I can and hopefully bring that winning culture and fit in.”
Tatar has 16 goals in 62 games. From 2013 to 2017 he scored 94 goals with the Red Wings, an average of 23.5. Perhaps a change of scenery will help increase his production. But the Knights need him to deliver in the postseason as teams will no doubt focus their defense on shutting down the top two lines.
Tatar found out he was changing teams after seeing his name on television.
“I was really excited and a little shocked,” he said of being traded. “You hear rumors. But when I found out Vegas, I was super excited. I played here one game (Oct. 13) and it was a special atmosphere in the arena. I had goosebumps playing here.”
He also got into it with Erik Haula after Tatar caught him with a questionable open-ice hit. The two dropped gloves and fought in that first meeting between the Knights and Red Wings. But Tatar said that’s in the past and he looks forward to being teammates with Haula.
Hyka in; Lindberg and Neal out
Tomas Hyka, recalled from Chicago of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, was in the lineup against the Kings as both James Neal and Oscar Lindberg were out following injuries suffered in Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss at Staples Center.
Lindberg took a elbow to the head from Kyle Clifford in the first period. Neal had an awkward collision with Jake Muzzin in the second period and appeared to have injured his hand. Neither returned after being hurt.
“I don’t think (Neal) is serious,” coach Gerard Gallant said as he announced the lineup changes, which included Maxime Lagace starting in goal in place of Marc-Andre Fleury.
Alex Tuch took Neal’s place on Erik Haula’s line. The fourth line was Tomas Nosek, Ryan Carpenter and Ryan Reaves.