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Golden Knights adjust to afternoon playoff games

Updated August 5, 2020 - 7:12 pm

The Golden Knights are going to tie an obscure franchise record when the puck is dropped for their round-robin game Thursday against St. Louis.

They’re going to match the most afternoon playoff games in team history.

The NHL has played at all hours of the day upon its return to make sure it fits in all its play-in and round-robin games in a timely fashion. That means there typically has been an early afternoon, late afternoon and night game each day at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.

The Knights have had the middle slot for their first two round-robin games after playing before 5 p.m. local time just three times in their postseason history. They had two afternoon playoff games during their inaugural season and one in their first-round matchup with the San Jose Sharks last season.

“It’s a strange time slot,” Knights coach Pete DeBoer said. “It’s something you have to get used to. With the format this year, you’re going to have to get ready to play at all different times of the day. It’s just one of the other things that’s going to get thrown at different groups, and it’s how you deal with it.”

DeBoer said the 4:40 p.m. Mountain Time puck drop the Knights had Monday — and will have again Thursday — was too early to have a normal game-day routine but too late to treat it like an early afternoon game. He’s adjusted the team’s schedule when it comes to meetings and arriving at the rink in response to that.

Yet while players may resent having their usual game-day naps cut short or taken away, they seemed to adjust fine Monday. The Knights rallied from a 3-1 deficit after two periods to defeat the Dallas Stars 5-3.

“Throughout most guys’ careers, we’ve been able to play at different times,” defenseman Nick Holden said. “Obviously your preparation is a little bit different in naps and eating and stuff like that. But when it comes down to it, you get to the rink around the same time and just start preparing the same way.”

Raffle returns

The Knights’ 51/49 charity raffles, which happen every home game, will take place online during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The raffles will be hosted by the Folded Flag Foundation, which provides scholarships and support grants to the spouses of U.S. military and government personnel who have died in the line of duty.

The first raffle will start at noon Thursday and run through 11:59 p.m. Monday. The winning ticket will be picked at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The next raffle will begin one hour before puck drop on the first day of the first round of the playoffs.

Tickets will be sold online at foldedflag.bump5050.com. Fans must be physically located in Nevada to participate.

Parenting from afar

Holden said defenseman Jon Merrill has held a dance party over Zoom with his three daughters in the NHL’s bubble, one of the many ways the Knights’ fathers have stayed connected to their children. Holden said he’s also heard of players having virtual “story time” with their kids.

“The amount of time we’re going to be away, you’ve got to preplan what kinds of things you can bring or do to talk to your kids about over the time we’re apart,” said Holden, who has four children. “It’s obviously nice to have other guys in that situation where you can lean on them a little bit to help you through if you’re missing your family.”

Round-robin update

Colorado defeated Dallas 4-0 in its second round-robin game Wednesday, ensuring that the Knights cannot finish with the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference.

The Knights can still receive the No. 1 seed if they get at least a point against St. Louis and beat the Avalanche on Saturday.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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