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Golden Knights say foes taking liberties with Ryan Reaves out

Updated May 5, 2021 - 7:54 pm

Golden Knights captain Mark Stone mentioned that the team was missing key players after a 6-5 loss Monday at the Minnesota Wild.

The Knights were without their second-leading scorer, Max Pacioretty, and one of their few natural centers, Tomas Nosek. But the player that Stone mentioned specifically was right wing Ryan Reaves.

“It’d be nice to have Reavo in the lineup,” Stone said. “I think they’ll feel a little different when big 75’s out there. I don’t think there will be as much chirping.”

Reaves, well known for his physical edge, hasn’t played since April 11 with an undisclosed injury, and there isn’t a clear timetable for his return. Coach Pete DeBoer said he anticipates Reaves at least will be healthy for the playoffs. In his absence, the Knights think opponents have been more aggressive than they normally would be.

“It’s amazing when you’re out of the lineup how many more liberties are taken and how much braver guys on the other team are at ice level,” DeBoer said.

The Knights are 10-2 since Reaves’ injury, but they miss what he brings to the team. He ranks third in the NHL in hits per 60 minutes (23.02) among skaters who have played at least 10 games.

The team hasn’t been quite as physical without him. The Knights ranked 16th in hits per 60 minutes (22.10) before Reaves was hurt and are 27th (18.05) since.

“With Reavo in the lineup, there’s an intimidation factor and the physicality factor that he brings,” defenseman Brayden McNabb said. “Whenever I think of Reavo, I always remember playing against him, and it’s not fun going back for pucks when he was on your tail.”

Krebs getting “audition”

Knights rookie forward Peyton Krebs played in his second straight game Wednesday after making his NHL debut Monday.

Krebs, the 17th pick in the 2019 draft, can play up to six games (regular season and postseason) before the first year gets burned on his three-year, entry-level deal. The Knights want to see what he can do after he led his major junior league in points with 43 in 24 games. He also had five points in five games with the Silver Knights this season.

The 20-year-old had an assist in his debut and played 9:05.

“It’s definitely an audition,” DeBoer said. “It’s nice that we were able to see him during the regular season here, and for me just based on one viewing, he definitely should be a playoff option for us, and we shouldn’t have hesitation putting him in the lineup based on what I’ve seen.”

Pacioretty misses game

Pacioretty missed his second straight game Wednesday with an undisclosed injury.

Pacioretty was hurt in the Knights’ 3-2 overtime win Saturday at the Arizona Coyotes and didn’t play after the second period. He leads the team with 24 goals and is second in points with 51.

DeBoer said he doesn’t expect Pacioretty’s absence to be long term.

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

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