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Golden Knights goalie misses practice with lower-body injury

Updated March 8, 2023 - 4:10 pm

Goaltender Adin Hill continued one of the best stretches of play in his NHL career Tuesday, making 39 saves in the Golden Knights’ 2-1 loss at the Florida Panthers.

Hill has taken charge of the crease with goaltenders Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit on injured reserve. He’s staking his claim to an increased role down the stretch.

But things can never be that simple for the Knights in net this season.

Hill didn’t practice Wednesday because he’s “been dealing with a lower-body injury,” coach Bruce Cassidy said.

That leaves the Knights in yet another precarious position in goal. Recent trade acquisition Jonathan Quick is the only healthy goaltender with NHL experience in the organization with Thompson and Brossoit hurt and Robin Lehner out for the season with a hip injury that required surgery.

“We’re keeping an eye on (Hill’s injury),” Cassidy said. “See how he’ll be tomorrow morning.”

This scenario was why the Knights added Quick from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

They wanted more depth behind Hill, whose 25 starts this season are three more than his previous career high. It wasn’t a matter of performance.

Hill is 6-2 since the All-Star break with wins against playoff contenders Carolina and New Jersey. Thompson was named an All-Star as a rookie. Brossoit, after returning from offseason hip surgery, put up numbers better than both in his three NHL starts.

But the Knights feared what would happen if they suffered more attrition after the trade deadline. Thompson is week to week with a lower-body injury he suffered Feb. 9 against Minnesota. He’s expected to return in the regular season, but an exact timeline is uncertain.

Brossoit is day to day with a lower-body injury he sustained Feb. 25 against Dallas. The Knights didn’t want a major slip-up with them out of the lineup.

They’re tied with Los Angeles for the most points in the Western Conference, with a game in hand. They’re two points ahead of third-place Seattle in the Pacific Division. The race is tight with 18 games left in the regular season.

“This isn’t a move designed to upstart any of the goaltenders that are here,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said after acquiring Quick on March 2. “This is a move that’s designed to mitigate risk and give us healthy goaltenders as we move forward.”

The goaltending injuries open the door for Quick to prove he can salvage a difficult season.

The two-time Stanley Cup winner was solid in his first start with the Knights, making 25 saves Sunday in a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. He said he “felt pretty comfortable right from the get-go.”

Quick is still only 12-13-4 this season. The 37-year-old’s .877 save percentage is fourth-worst in the NHL among goalies with at least 10 appearances.

Quick is likely to get more opportunities if Hill is limited or can’t play the remaining four games of this road trip. The Knights bought an insurance policy for a reason. It remains to be seen how much they will need it.

“It was good for Jonathan to get some good practice time, some live work,” Cassidy said. “Hasn’t had a lot since he’s been here. We’ll make a decision on the goalie tomorrow.”

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

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