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Why are Golden Knights worse at home than on the road?

The Golden Knights haven’t cared where they’ve played this season.

Previously difficult buildings such as Winnipeg’s Canada Life Centre and Columbus’ Nationwide Arena? They’ve won there. Lengthy trips to places such as Boston, Toronto and Buffalo? No problem.

The busy schedule and long hours in the air haven’t stopped the Knights from earning an NHL-best 14 wins and 29 points from their 17 road games. Their ability to adapt to any environment is why they’re atop the Western Conference standings.

There’s only one rink they’re still trying to figure out — their own.

The Knights are 8-7 at T-Mobile Arena, with a .533 points percentage that ranks 20th in the league.

They have an opportunity to turn things around. They begin a four-game homestand Saturday against the New York Islanders that will take them to the NHL’s annual holiday break.

“There’s no magic or button we can push or we would’ve pushed it,” goaltender Logan Thompson said. “We got to focus up. We can do it on the road, so let’s dial it in.”

Players have had a hard time explaining the Knights’ extreme home and road splits. There aren’t a lot of clear reasons they’ve looked so different away from Las Vegas.

The most obvious answer is the Knights are scoring more.

They have an NHL-leading 70 goals away from home, 11 more than any other team. They’re scoring 4.12 goals per game on the road while shooting 12.8 percent. Buffalo, the NHL’s No. 1 offense, scores 3.93 per game while shooting 12.2 percent.

The Knights have used their high-flying attack to build leads in different rinks and force opponents to chase them. They’ve scored first in 12 of the 17 road games, and they’ve scored the first two goals in five of their past six.

“It’s just worked out for us where we’re typically ready to play,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “(We) have not dug ourselves any holes on the road.”

The script flips at home.

The Knights’ 2.40 goals per game at T-Mobile Arena ranks last in the league. Their shooting percentage falls to 7.4. Their power play drops from second-best on the road (29.8 percent) to 25th at home (18.6 percent).

Their recent performances make the contrast even more apparent.

The Knights lost 3-1 to Boston on Sunday at T-Mobile Arena. Their short-handed lineup struggled to finish against the NHL’s best defensive team and a strong goaltender in Linus Ullmark.

The Knights then took almost the exact same group — rookie defenseman Brayden Pachal replaced injured Zach Whitecloud — and won 6-5 on the road two days later against the NHL’s fifth-best defensive team in Winnipeg and a Vezina Trophy winner in Connor Hellebuyck.

“There’s no excuse now that everybody points it out,” right wing Jonathan Marchessault said after beating the Jets. “Obviously, it’s on us to be a little better at home for our fans, especially.”

The Knights have an opportunity to finish strong at T-Mobile Arena the rest of the year.

The Islanders are the only one of their opponents on the homestand in line to make the playoffs. The Knights also host Nashville, which is 12th in the Western Conference, before the calendar flips to 2023.

“I don’t have an answer for you,” left wing Reilly Smith said. “We need to be better at home. This next game for us will be a good test.”

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

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