Jack Eichel ended the longest road trip of the Golden Knights’ young season with a spectacular overtime goal against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.
The Knights hope it can serve as a spark as they return home to face the Arizona Coyotes at 7 p.m. Saturday in their first game at T-Mobile Arena since Nov. 10.
“It was important there for one of the guys that we rely on to get a goal,” coach Bruce Cassidy said.
The 2-1 victory against the Stars wasn’t exactly an offensive outburst, but goals haven’t been easy to come by for a Knights team that scored just 11 times in five road games.
While Cassidy knows he has a balanced group, he believes the big weapons are the key to jump-starting the offense. The goal by Eichel was just his second in the last seven games as the club searches for consistency.
“It’s important in that there’s guys that we rely on for offense, and it just hasn’t come,” Cassidy said on the potential impact of Eichel’s goal. “There are two ways to look at that, right? There is the group that is getting the chances every night. (Jonathan) Marchessault, it seems the puck is finding him, and it’s just not going in. And Jack has had a lot of good looks. Other guys, not as many looks. We want to make sure that we find a way to get them going offensively.”
Cassidy said earlier in the week he’s more concerned with cleaning up the defense and taking better care of the puck than the offense.
The Knights appeared to adhere to that blueprint against the Stars.
“I think we wanted to regroup a bit defensively and not give up as many goals or as many turnovers as we have the last couple games,” center Nic Roy said. “I think we had a better effort defensively.”
Roy also contributed on the other end, delivering a beautiful backhand pass to right wing Michael Amadio for the Knights’ only goal in regulation.
All of that ensured the team ended the trip with a win to finish 2-2-1. The Knights earned five of a 10 possible points despite the concern about the state of their game.
“You know the old saying about going .500 on the road, so we got that,” Cassidy said. “But we expected a lot more than .500 on the road. We’re a good hockey club. For this trip, that’s how it ends. That’s a good mental thing on the checklist to make sure you get half the points that were available on the road trip.”
The Knights are now back home, where they’ve been dominant. It’s a brief stay, however. They play just once at T-Mobile Arena, where they are 8-1-1 on the year, before going on another three-game trip through Canada.
Arizona, at 8-9-2, is sitting fifth in the Central Division despite losing three consecutive games.