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Defenseman can’t quite enjoy milestone after Knights’ loss

Alex Pietrangelo’s unwavering competitive drive is one reason he’s played 1,000 NHL games.

It’s also why the Golden Knights defenseman wasn’t able to enjoy the accomplishment as much as he would have liked Monday.

Things started out well. The Knights honored Pietrangelo’s milestone with a pregame ceremony at T-Mobile Arena. His family joined him on the ice to celebrate. Current and former teammates and coaches congratulated him in a special video. General manager Kelly McCrimmon gave Pietrangelo a gold stick as a gift.

Then the Knights lost 5-3 to the Minnesota Wild. Pietrangelo admitted that’s going to stay with him.

“I like winning,” Pietrangelo said. “That’s the frustrating part.”

The defeat snapped a two-game winning streak for the Knights (31-16-6). It was also just their second regulation loss in their last 10 games.

They’ll have time to dwell on it. The team doesn’t play again until it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

“You want to win those games, especially when you have a big break coming up,” Pietrangelo said. “It’s frustrating when you have to sit there for four days now, but it will help us get prepared for Saturday.”

The time off should help the Knights get healthier.

Goaltender Logan Thompson and left wing Paul Cotter didn’t dress Monday with an illness. The team also has several defensemen working their way back from injuries.

Defensemen Ben Hutton (upper body) and Tobias Bjornfot (undisclosed) are both practicing with the team. Defenseman Shea Theodore (upper body) has skated with the Knights three times in a red no-contact jersey. Coach Bruce Cassidy hasn’t ruled out Theodore for the Hurricanes game.

The Knights hope to get back on track against Carolina. They also want to create better memories for Pietrangelo, who became the 125th defenseman in NHL history to play 1,000 games.

He did concede it was special to have his loved ones around, even in defeat.

The ceremony was a joyous moment after a challenging year for the family. Pietrangelo missed nine games last season while his daughter Evelyn fought encephalitis, a brain condition that, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, can have various symptoms and “requires prompt treatment to lower the risk of lasting complications or death.”

Evelyn recovered and was with Pietrangelo on Monday, along with his three other children, his wife, Jayne, and his parents. And that memory will last forever.

“Personally, having my family on the ice is a pretty special thing,” Pietrangelo said. “It’s been a pretty crazy year for me and my wife, especially everything that went on last year, so I’m blessed to have a special family.”

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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