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Golden Knights keep quiet on Chandler Stephenson’s status

Updated June 17, 2021 - 6:08 pm

The Golden Knights are being coy about Chandler Stephenson’s status for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup semifinals Friday in Montreal.

The Golden Knights forward remains day to day with an upper-body injury, according to coach Pete DeBoer, who declined to say whether Stephenson traveled with the team.

“Everybody is facing injuries, and guys in and out of the lineup or are playing hurt this time of year,” DeBoer said Thursday. “You have to find a way. We’re prepared to deal with that.”

Stephenson was scratched from Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Canadiens, and it’s unclear when the first-line center was injured.

DeBoer used Nicolas Roy between Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone in the first period, and the three were ineffective. Keegan Kolesar was elevated to the first line for the final two periods and won an offensive-zone faceoff to set up Alex Pietrangelo’s first goal.

But Stephenson’s speed through the middle was missed, especially on Montreal’s third goal when Kolesar lost track of Paul Byron on the backcheck.

“It’s a big ask by us for them to jump into those spots in the conference finals,” DeBoer said. “If you’re going to go on any kind of deep run, you have to be able to rely on your depth, and those guys are good depth players for us.”

The Knights have battled through injuries to key players during the postseason.

Pacioretty, who led the team in goals during the regular season, missed the first six games of the first round against Minnesota. Defenseman Brayden McNabb tested positive for COVID-19 and was out for five games, and Mattias Janmark sat out three games in the West Division final.

Tomas Nosek hasn’t played since Game 2 of the first round but could be an option Friday.

“Just another one of those little pieces of adversity you have to deal with on the playoff trail,” DeBoer said.

Evil eyes

Jeff Petry made his series debut in Game 2, and the Canadiens defenseman looked like a Marvel villain with two bloodshot eyes.

Petry was hurt during the second round against Winnipeg when he appeared to catch his hand inside a camera hole in the glass and missed two games. Canadiens trainers fitted him with a special glove to wear Wednesday.

It’s not clear how Petry’s eye condition, a subconjunctival hemorrhage (broken blood vessels under the cornea), is related to the hand injury. Petry declined to offer further details when asked Thursday.

“The kids were at school one night when I came home, and my wife gave them a warning,” Petry said. “They came in and didn’t want to look at me and decided that I would be the villain and they would be the superheroes, and we started playing. That got them to relax and feel a little bit more comfortable now.”

Petry didn’t take line rushes in warmups and originally was listed as a scratch for Game 2 in a bit of gamesmanship from the Canadiens. He was a late addition and had an assist and blocked two shots in 20:47 of ice time while solidifying Montreal’s blue line.

Former Knights defenseman Jon Merrill also made his first appearance in the series Wednesday after being out since May 27 with an undisclosed injury. He played 12:52 and blocked two shots.

“At this time of year, everyone is sacrificing their bodies,” Merrill said. “This team is dedicated, has bought in and is together right now.”

Fleury second in NHLPA poll

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury finished second in the voting for best goaltender in the NHL Players Association’s annual poll, which was released Thursday.

The survey asked nearly 490 players 14 hockey-related questions anonymously between March and April.

Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy was first in best goaltender with 54.12 percent of the vote. Fleury was second at 8.88 percent, ahead of Montreal’s Carey Price (8.25), Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck (5.07) and Boston’s Tuukka Rask (4.02).

Vasilevskiy and Fleury are two of the three Vezina Trophy finalists, along with Colorado’s Philipp Grubauer.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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