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Knights still confident as goaltending carousel continues

Updated March 27, 2023 - 6:38 pm

Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy covered his eyes and crossed his fingers when he heard it.

The Knights made NHL history in the previous week. They became the first club to start four different goaltender in a four-game span and go 4-0-0.

It’s a stretch the Knights can be proud of but also hope not to repeat. They might not be able to even if they wanted.

The two healthy NHL goaltenders they have left are Jonathan Quick and Laurent Brossoit. Rookie Logan Thompson was hurt in Thursday’s win at the Calgary Flames and isn’t expected to play for at least a week, Cassidy said. Adin Hill hasn’t started skating since getting hurt March 7 in Florida. Rookie Jiri Patera is in Henderson.

It will be up to the Knights’ new-look tandem to provide the much-needed stability in net the team has lacked since the All-Star break. Brossoit and Quick are capable of doing so. Even if they don’t, the Knights have shown they’re able to manage.

“It’s a nonstory to me,” said Cassidy, whose team will host the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena. “Our goaltending is fine. They’re giving us a chance to win every night. Sometimes it’s been excellent, sometimes very good, sometimes good. I don’t think it’s ever been poor. So our guys recognize that.”

Quick and Brossoit provide a fascinating contrast at this stage of their careers.

Quick, 37, is the two-time Stanley Cup winner looking to prove he can still play. Brossoit is the longtime backup who has spent most of this season in the American Hockey League. The 30-year-old never has been given the chance to start a playoff game, so this might be his best shot.

Both have shown they’re able to function behind Cassidy’s defensive system that prevents high-danger scoring chances off the rush or in the slot.

Quick had an .876 save percentage and a 3.50 goals-against average in 31 games with the Los Angeles Kings. He’s posted a .908 save percentage and 2.93 GAA since being acquired March 2.

Quick’s improved numbers still rank fifth among the five goaltenders his new team has used. The athletic, aggressive netminder isn’t the only one getting help from the Knights’ defensive environment.

“We’ve been fortunate,” Quick said. “The guys play well in front of everybody. We just have to keep that going.”

On the other hand, Brossoit has the lowest GAA among the goalies the Knights have used at 2.37. His .929 save percentage is tied for the best with Patera.

Brossoit has had success whenever he’s been in the net. Unfortunately for him, that hasn’t been often this season in the NHL.

He underwent hip surgery last summer and has played most of the season with the Silver Knights. He waited patiently for another opportunity with the big club. When he got it, he showed he belonged.

Brossoit said his hip procedure, which fixed an issue he’s had since junior hockey, has helped him be more patient in net. He’s more confident in his ability to move, which allows him to wait an extra beat or two to track a puck or read a play before committing to a save.

“I can make more difficult saves in more control,” Brossoit said. “I don’t have to come out of my technique as often.”

The only thing holding Brossoit back is his health, because he missed 13 games before starting Saturday against the Oilers. But the Knights could say the same thing for a lot of their goaltenders.

“We’re just used to it now,” Cassidy said. “Our guys are not rattled by this at all. They’re not worried about who the goalie is. They’re just going out and playing.”

Player updates

Left wing Reilly Smith is not expected to be available for the next week, Cassidy said. He suffered a lower-body injury against the Flames.

Defenseman Alec Martinez returned to practice Monday after missing Saturday’s game for personal reasons. Cassidy said Martinez will play Tuesday.

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

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