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What does the future hold for the Knights’ goalie tandem?

Bruce Cassidy said before the playoffs he didn’t believe in relying on just one goaltender to get through the postseason.

The Golden Knights coach knew having two able netminders would come in handy at some point. It just didn’t seem the time would come before Game 5 in a 2-2 series.

The switch from Logan Thompson to Adin Hill didn’t backfire on the Knights during their first-round loss to Dallas. Both goaltenders did all they could to get their team across the finish line. They combined for a .925 save percentage.

But now the tandem will have to look forward after an up-an-down season that saw them both finish strong.

“We just needed one more goal,” Cassidy said after the Game 7 loss to Dallas.

Playoff swap

The Knights’ decision to change goaltenders mid-series still led to some questions.

Thompson, 27, was stellar the first four games. He allowed 10 goals total and made a career-high 43 saves in Game 3 to almost give the Knights a 3-0 series lead.

Instead, the team lost in overtime and fell again in Game 4. Cassidy and goalie coach Sean Burke then decided to go with Hill for Game 5.

The reasoning was Hill had faced playoff pressure before. The 28-year-old went 11-4 in the postseason last year to help the Knights lift the Stanley Cup.

Still, it was a risk. Hill was 5-9-0 his last 15 appearances before the playoffs. Thompson was the one carrying the Knights down the stretch by going 9-4-1.

“I thought Logan got us a lot of really big wins,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “He deserved to play when we started the playoffs. You got the ability to go to Adin Hill in a series, I think that’s a great option.”

Hill rewarded the Knights’ faith.

He gave up five goals in three starts and posted his third postseason shutout in a must-win Game 6 at T-Mobile Arena.

He stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced in Game 7, but his offense didn’t give enough support.

Roller-coaster season

The loss to the Stars ended a season where both goaltenders experienced highs and lows.

The two childhood friends from Calgary got off to a spectacular start. Hill and Thompson combined to allow just 30 goals during the Knights’ first 15 games.

Then, injuries struck.

Hill missed most of the next two months with a nagging lower-body injury. He tried to return against the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 17 but lasted just six minutes.

“Going into that game, I felt 100 percent. I practiced six to 10 times. I didn’t feel any ounce of pain. No weakness, nothing. Five minutes into game action, it happens again,” Hill said.

Hill said he’s done the move he got hurt on thousands of times. He said he did in a number of times in the practices leading up to his comeback as well.

“It’s kind of shocking when it happens because you’re like, ‘I did this 80 times in practice yesterday and now today in the game, it hurts,’” Hill said. “Being a goalie in the position I do, it puts a lot of stress on certain areas of the body and there’s no way to play goalie without it.”

Thompson took on an increased workload with Hill out and couldn’t continue his early-season dominance. He went 11-6-2 from Dec. 1 to Jan. 22 with a .903 save percentage. The struggles were so obvious he called December “the toughest month of my career” mentally.

He locked in down the stretch and still has plenty to be proud of. Thompson finished 25-14-5.

“I think they’ve been good goalies for two years. If they were both healthy, I think they’d both be better because I really believe in a 1-1A platoon style,” McCrimmon said. “Just the health has been the issue.”

Moving forward

The Knights will have to see if there’s anything they can do to keep both goaltenders healthy next year.

Hill, who played a career-high 35 games this season, has missed significant time each of the last three years with injuries. The Knights need him to be available entering the final season of the two-year, $9.8 million extension he signed last summer.

Thompson is about to enter the final season of the three-year, $2.3 million extension he signed in 2022 as well. That should create another heated competition between the two for starts next season. It also means the Knights’ future in net is a little up in the air.

The team is happy with the tandem it has now, however. Especially after how they performed in the playoffs.

“They gave us a chance to win every game,” captain Mark Stone said. “There’s a lot of pressure going in as the goalie in any series and they both showed they’re elite goalies in the series.”

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

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