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Golden Knights lose another defenseman to injury

Updated October 23, 2021 - 3:50 pm

A blocked shot will cost the Golden Knights a key player for the second time in four games.

Defenseman Zach Whitecloud, who left Friday’s 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in the second period, is considered week to week with an upper-body injury, coach Pete DeBoer said Saturday.

Whitecloud appeared to block a slap shot from Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith with his right hand 5:29 into the second period at T-Mobile Arena. He doubled over in pain, skated back to the bench, was examined by a trainer, left for the locker room and didn’t return.

His injury is the latest blow to a team that already lost left wing Max Pacioretty (week to week) because of a lower-body fracture he sustained by blocking a shot. Captain Mark Stone (between day to day and week to week with an undisclosed injury) and defenseman Alec Martinez (day to day with a lower-body injury) also were out of the lineup Friday.

“I haven’t (seen this before),” DeBoer said. “Not this many (injuries) this early, and not to key people. Usually it’s a mixture of your roster. This seems to be a lot of key guys. But it is what it is. Everybody deals with it. I’d rather deal with it now than later.”

Whitecloud is one of the Knights’ best defenders and was matched with reigning Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid for the majority of his five-on-five minutes Friday.

The team allowed 1.6 goals per 60 minutes with him on the ice at five-on-five last season, the best mark among any of its defensemen. The 24-year-old also ranked fourth in short-handed ice time per game.

DeBoer said defenseman Daniil Miromanov is expected to make his NHL debut Sunday against the New York Islanders with Whitecloud out. Miromanov, 24, is an offensive defenseman who dazzled in the preseason and had two goals and two assists in two games with the Silver Knights before being called up Thursday.

“We need all the help we can get with scoring right now,” defenseman Dylan Coghlan said. “Hopefully he gets one.”

Janmark makes return

Mattias Janmark discovered the joys of the Pacific time zone while in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols.

The Knights’ left wing said he didn’t leave his room from the day he was placed in the protocols Oct. 11 until he got back on the ice Thursday. He said he watched plenty of hockey because he could watch games across the NHL and still go to bed at a decent time. He also caught up on lots of TV shows.

“I probably watched most that’s out there,” Janmark said.

Janmark returned to play Friday, but said he still isn’t 100 percent after spending so much time off his skates. The 28-year-old, who re-signed with the Knights on a one-year, $2 million deal this offseason, played on the fourth line and received 9:56 of ice time.

That was the fourth-lowest total on the team and well below his 15:34 career average. He didn’t get time on the penalty kill despite normally playing short-handed.

“The coaches did a pretty good job of keeping me pretty fresh,” Janmark said. “Every time I went out of the ice I had energy to play my game.”

Wardrobe schedule

The Knights announced the games in which they will wear their gold jerseys and helmets.

Their alternate jerseys will be worn at 15 games starting with Sunday’s against the New York Islanders at T-Mobile. They also will wear them Nov. 9, 16 and 27, Dec. 8, 12 and 23, Jan. 4, 8, 11 and 20, Feb. 1, March 6, and April 9 and 20.

The gold chrome helmets will be worn Nov. 20, Dec. 31, March 1 and 19, and April 6. The team wore them for the first time this season Friday.

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

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