Nick Cousins continues tradition for Golden Knights first timers
Nick Cousins became the latest Golden Knights player to score in their debut with the team Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers.
Add another name to the list.
Cody Glass. Nicolas Roy. Chandler Stephenson. Alec Martinez. Patrick Brown. And now Nick Cousins.
It’s seemingly impossible not to score in a Golden Knights’ debut this season and Cousins proved no exception to the rule. The 26-year-old forward, who was acquired in a Monday trade with the Montreal Canadiens, scored Wednesday in his first game as a Knight.
The tally helped his team remain in first place in the Pacific Division with a 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
“I’m just happy to be able to follow the lead like those guys,” Cousins said. “It’s pretty impressive to see. It’s got to be some sort of record or something. These guys made me feel real comfortable so it was fun out there.”
Cousins’ debut was impressive considering how little time he had to prepare. He arrived at City National Arena around 11 a.m. Wednesday morning due to visa issues and didn’t participate in the Knights’ morning skate.
He started at third-line left wing but was moved to fourth-line center before the first period was over. He also jumped right onto the team’s second power-play unit.
The latter opportunity led to his goal. Defenseman Alec Martinez fired a slap shot from the top of the right circle, and Cousins slammed in the rebound off his backhand 5:44 into the third period.
“I thought (Cousins) did a great job,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “He got up in Montreal I don’t know what time this morning, flew here today, got off the plane, didn’t skate, showed up to the game and I thought gave us some great energy.
“It was a big effort from him after a tough day of travel.”
The Knights will gladly take more of that from Cousins, a bottom-six grinder who is scoring a career-best 0.39 points per game this season (23 points in 59 games). And Cousins will take more of what he saw from the Knights.
He said the first thing he did after he told he was traded was check the standings. He saw the Knights were in first place. Wednesday, he helped keep them there.
“They’ve had a good team,” Cousins said. “They’re always hard to play against. (I’m) just excited to contribute any way I can.”
Martinez keeps impressing
Who said Alec Martinez wasn’t an offensive defenseman?
Martinez, one of the Knights’ other recent trade acquisitions, continued to surprise Wednesday. He had two assists against the Oilers, giving him six points in four games with his new team. The 32-year-old only had eight points in 41 games with the Los Angeles Kings.
Another wild stat: Martinez has two points in three of his four games with the Knights (75 percent). He had at least two points in 26 of his 597 games with the Kings (4.36 percent).
It wasn’t just Martinez’s offense that flashed Wednesday, though. He and partner Shea Theodore were given the unenviable task of slowing down Oilers superstar Connor McDavid at 5-on-5 but held their own.
The Knights and Oilers had an equal amount of scoring (six) and high-danger scoring chances (three) when Martinez and McDavid were on the ice at 5-on-5.
Fleury on Prior
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he was “a little bit surprised” that goaltending coach/director of goaltending David Prior will step away from his day-to-day role with the Knights.
He will be replaced by the organization’s goaltending development coach, Mike Rosati. Prior will still work for the team and will be based out of Ontario.
“I know he coaches a lot like Dave,” Fleury said. “I’m looking forward to working with him. And Dave’s been great with me. I really liked his approach to the game. I feel like he’s helped me, he’s helped my game.”
Contact Ben Gotz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.