The Golden Knights went to bed angry after their 6-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, a performance coach Gerard Gallant called “embarrassing.”
Then they woke up, began a new day and got back to work. The Knights had a high-paced practice Saturday to get ready to their 5 p.m. game Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks and did what they could to put their worst game of the season behind them.
Questions from Friday still linger, but the team is ready to turn the page.
“I’m sure they were (mad) last night, but today, you come and you have a good practice and work hard and get ready for tomorrow,” Gallant said. “That’s all you can do.”
The game continued several trends for the Knights. They allowed 40 shots, raising their season average to 34.2, fifth-worst in the NHL. They took four penalties, raising their season total to 54, second-most in the league. And they were too reliant on goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, whose NHL-leading 7.55 goals saved above average has covered for his team’s defensive shortcomings.
But despite all that, the Knights are 7-5 and entered Saturday in second place in the Pacific Division.
“It’s not ideal,” left wing Jonathan Marchessault said. “But it’s not bad.”
It’s an improvement on last season’s 5-7 start. And the Knights have accomplished that with defenseman Nate Schmidt and right wing Alex Tuch playing a combined 3 minutes, 11 seconds.
That doesn’t excuse their performance Friday, but the team knows that.
“I think everyone was (mad) and ready to get to work today,” center Paul Stastny said. “And kind of flip the script on what happened yesterday.”
Lineup change coming?
The Knights switched up their bottom-six at practice Saturday. Tomas Nosek, who played the first 12 games at fourth-line center, was elevated to third-line left wing and 22-year-old Nicolas Roy took his spot.
That means Roy could make his Knights debut Sunday and left wing Brandon Pirri, who has one assist in nine games, could fall out of the lineup.
Gallant didn’t commit to keeping the change for Sunday’s game and Roy said he didn’t know if he was playing.
“I’ve been switching the lines up the last few games and I don’t like doing that, but we want results and we want people getting better,” Gallant said. “There’s too many guys not playing well right now. That’s the problem. Hopefully we got by that and we’re ready to go.”
Golden Knights through 12 games
(NHL rank entering Saturday)
*Goals/game: 2.92 (17th)
*Goals allowed/game: 2.83 (13th)
*Shots/game: 34.2 (5th)
*Shots allowed/game: 34.2 (27th)
*Power-play percentage: 22.7 percent (11th)
*Penalty-kill percentage: 89.4 percent (2nd)