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Golden Knights get early look at Pacific Division opponents

Updated October 12, 2019 - 9:02 pm

Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said before the season that he saw improvement across the Pacific Division.

His team has gotten a firsthand look at that.

The Knights began the season with a stretch of five division opponents in six games, which concludes Sunday at the Los Angeles Kings. They now have a better sense of what they’re up against as they try to win the division for the second time in three seasons.

“As long as we’re playing well in those games and winning those games, it’s good to see them, for sure,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “It’s a good test.”

The Knights have finished first and third in the Pacific in their first two seasons in large part because of their ability to get points against division opponents. They were 20-6-3 against the Pacific in 2017-18 and 18-8-3 in 2018-19.

They’ve had a losing record against a division opponent once, against the Edmonton Oilers in 2017-18 (1-2-1).

That pace might be harder to maintain this season. The Oilers (5-0) and Anaheim Ducks (4-1), who finished with the seventh- and eighth-worst records in the NHL last season, are off to good starts.

The Arizona Coyotes (1-2-1) look better and defeated the Knights on Thursday.

Top prospect Cody Glass said the early games against division teams such as the Coyotes help the Knights see where they stack up. But right wing Mark Stone offered a word of caution, saying it’s too early to tell how much better the division is.

“I mean, we’re four games in,” Stone said before Saturday’s game against Calgary at T-Mobile Arena. “I don’t know. I haven’t watched a ton of the teams yet, but everybody obviously wants to have a great start. Some teams have, and some teams haven’t.”

Dansk up

The Knights called up goaltender Oscar Dansk to serve as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup while Malcolm Subban is day to day with a lower-body injury.

Dansk, 25, made one start for the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves this season and allowed seven goals in 59 minutes. He had a 2.46 goals-against average and .913 save percentage last season with the Wolves and helped them reach the Calder Cup Final.

On the farm

Forward Lucas Elvenes, the Review-Journal’s No. 4 Knights prospect, is off to a hot start in his first season in North America with five points (two goals, three assists) in the Wolves’ first three games.

Defenseman Dylan Coghlan, who competed for a job in training camp, has two assists.

More Golden Knights: Follow at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

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

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