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Knights goaltender confident as playoffs begin: ‘I feel good’

The playoffs were a dark period for Logan Thompson last season.

The Golden Knights goaltender could only watch as his team completed a magical run to a Stanley Cup championship. He started out strong and was named an All Star as a rookie, but he was limited to two appearances after the break thanks to a pair of lower-body injuries.

That meant Thompson wasn’t in the lineup when the Knights clinched the Cup on June 13. He still participated in the celebration with the other scratches in uniform when the final buzzer sounded.

“Last year, for me personally, sucked,” Thompson said. “For the team, obviously, you couldn’t be happier.”

It appears Thompson will get his opportunity in the spotlight a year later.

The 27-year-old is entering the playoffs healthy, meaning he’ll be in the lineup during the postseason for the first time in his career. He also seems to be the favorite to be the Knights’ Game 1 starter after his goaltending partner Adin Hill battled injuries and inconsistency down the stretch. Coach Bruce Cassidy has yet to say whether it will be Thompson or Hill’s net.

Thompson would have huge skates to fill if he does get the nod. Hill went 11-4 last postseason.

“To be around (the team), obviously we don’t know the situation of who’s playing Game 1 yet, but I’m excited I’ll be able to wear a jersey for this Stanley Cup playoffs and I feel good about my game,” Thompson said.

Thompson has every right to be feeling good.

His surface numbers — a .908 save percentage and a 2.70 goals-against average in a career-high 46 appearances — don’t jump off the page. But he gained confidence beginning in March when the Knights were fighting to get into the postseason. Thompson is 8-3-0 since the beginning of that month. He allowed one goal or less in seven of those starts.

“I think he’s under control maybe more than the start of the year,” Cassidy said. “I think the team is playing better in front of him so he’s not forced to have extended periods of time in his own end.”

Thompson’s late-season run is similar to another one he went on.

He was the Knights’ starter the final month of the 2021-22 season with goaltenders Robin Lehner and Laurent Brossoit dealing with injuries. Thompson went 9-3-3 in 15 appearances and almost got the team into the playoffs.

This year he did get the Knights into the postseason. They’ve needed him. Hill, who signed a two-year, $9.8 million extension in the offseason, is 5-9-0 his last 15 appearances.

It still hasn’t all been perfect for Thompson. He allowed five third-period goals in a 7-4 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on April 5. He lost his next start 4-3 to the Vancouver Canucks.

“Arizona was a bad game for everyone, including me,” Thompson said. “I feel like I’ve been playing well. Most of the goals I’ve given up with Vancouver and (Arizona) have just been stuff in front of the net. I don’t feel like I’m getting beat right now, so that’s just another part of my game I need to clean up.”

Cassidy isn’t committed to playing one goaltender for an entire playoff run. The Knights used Brossoit and Hill to win the Stanley Cup last year. There’s a chance Thompson and Hill each get starts this postseason.

One thing’s for sure: Thompson earned a look with the way he played down the stretch.

“He’s engaged mentally in the game. You see it in his puck play,” Cassidy said. “It’s probably because Logan wants to play some playoff hockey. He saw what (Hill) and Brossoit did last year and he’d like to be that guy, too. I think that’s as simple as that.”

Contact Danny Webster at dwebster@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DannyWebster21 on X.

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