Golden Knights looking for chemistry to develop along their lines

Shove all that composition and structure and properties and change of matter stuff off to one side. Replace it with drawing a penalty and slowing a guy down on the forecheck to allow your defense that extra second.

Chemistry along hockey lines isn’t always about scoring goals.

That’s just the best part, is all.

“If we’re doing all the other little things all across the ice, we’re going to find an identity for this team and playing for each other,” David Perron said. “From all the teams I have been on, and this is my 11th season, that’s the thing I want to bring most here. That kind of guidance and leadership.”

It’s analytics and continuity and familiarity and fortune and mystery, elements as to why some NHL lines click and produce and others struggle doing so. I’m guessing guys named Gillies, Trottier and Bossy had a whole bunch of those elements and then some back in the day.

Sometimes, things come together faster on lines than Patrick Kane travels one from end of the ice to the next.

Sometimes, it never happens.

How and when such rapport might develop with the expansion Golden Knights is anyone’s guess, a team trying to uncover those combinations that will keep them competitive most nights.

It’s almost time to do it for real.

The Knights lost to the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 before 15,337 on Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena, where if the atmosphere for two preseason games this week is any indication of what the regular season might bring, Tropicana Boulevard is going to be one grand party on those nights the ice is down.

Folks are cheering when they’re supposed to, booing when it’s appropriate and altogether intense in a terrific and festive way. They go crazy when a red light goes off for goals by the Knights (smart) and not when it does for timeouts (smarter).

The Knights open Oct. 6 at Dallas, and yet you figure lines won’t be totally set until James Neal is completely healed from a hand injury. He skated for the first time all camp this week, and it’s unknown if the wing will be ready when the team plane lands in Texas.

But he’s top six among forwards when the time comes, meaning things are eventually going to get shuffled.

What it probably doesn’t mean, at least to start, is messing with a top line of Reilly Smith, Vadim Shipachyov and Jonathan Marchessault.

Shipachyov — he finished with an assist in 17:17 of ice time and actually took shots — played by far his best game of the preseason Thursday, while Smith and Marchessault were previously together in Florida, where they played under Knights coach Gerard Gallant. That’s where the familiarity part can really help.

“You can’t really tell when (lines) might come together,” Smith said. “It’s tough in the preseason, when games get a little sloppy. You’re trying to get tendencies and structure down. Obviously, you hope things click quickly. Right now, we’re just going to take as many positives out of these preseason games as we can.”

Sometimes, you have to fail on one line to find your rhythm on another.

Perron was traded from Pittsburgh to Anaheim in January 2016 and immediately placed on a line with Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg. They didn’t score over two periods, so Perron was switched for the third to play with a line led by Ryan Getzlaf, which is usually a good thing because it’s almost impossible not to look good alongside one of the league’s best playmakers.

“We scored that game and went on a 12-game winning streak with us staying on the same line,” Perron said. “I felt fortunate to have that kind of connection. The NHL is a 3-2 league most nights when it comes to (final score). When we play the top teams, it’s going to be hard for us to score four or five goals, so we need to make sure we’re focused on those details and playing better than we can.”

Both goals for Vegas on Thursday came via defensemen. However, the lines tend to go early in the season, things need to get a lot better when the Knights have a man advantage, where they’ve failed to score on their past 16 power plays.

That doesn’t really help the guy wearing a mask on the other end.

“I’ll let them (the forwards) deal with chemistry and learning the system, and I’ll just try and stop the puck,” goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said. “Try and keep us close and give us a chance.”

There’s not much science involved when developing this kind of chemistry.

There’s also not a specific timeline for when it might appear.

The Knights hope it’s sooner than later.

It’s about to get real, after all.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Off Season Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and sports columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights free angency and signing Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury on his three-year extension: To stay in Vegas a long time was big
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he's glad he'll be a part of the team for a long time. Fleury spoke about signing a three-year contract extension at a news conference at the City National Arena in Las Vegas on Friday.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, July 5
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Golden Edge: Free Agency Update
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond and Golden Knights beat writer David Schoen go over the latest free agency news from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Edge: Knights Host Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights second day of scrimmage at City National Arena.
Golden Edge: Prospects Prepare For Scrimmage
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Knights getting ready to participate in a scrimmage for the next few days.
Golden Edge: Previous Prospects Fight For Spot
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over day two of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Edge: One-On-One With Reid Duke
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond interviews Golden Knights prospect Reid Duke.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Wednesday, June 27
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Development Camp
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the Golden Knights development camp and how the prospects are looking to improve their game.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 26, 2018
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights
David Perron, James Neal set to leave Golden Knights Perron and Neal were key contributors on the second line for the Knights, helping the expansion team to the Pacific Division and Western Conference championships. Perron’s agent, Allan Walsh, told the Review-Journal on Sunday that the Knights have not made a new contract offer since the season ended. Neal turned down a five-year, $25 million offer from the Knights at the trade deadline, according to the Calgary Sun.
Golden Edge 2018 NHL Draft Recap
Bryan Salmond Recaps The Vegas Golden Knights 2018 Draft picks Rounds 2-7.
Golden Edge : NHL Draft Round 1
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond goes over the first round of the NHL Draft picks and the rumors surrounding the Knights recruiting Ilya Kovalchuk.
Golden Knights 2018 NHL Draft Preview
Golden Edge video host Bryan Salmond provides a preview heading into the 2018 NHL Draft and Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee discusses how the team has prepared for it.
Golden Knights Release Schedule For 2018-19 NHL Season
Golden Knights release schedule for 2018-19 NHL season. The Golden Knights will play five of their first six games on the road. The Knights are at Washington on Oct. 10 in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final and face Pittsburgh the following night. The NHL previously announced the Knights open the season at home Oct. 4 against Philadelphia.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 21
Golden Edge: Knights Take Home Four Awards
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the NHL awards where the Golden Knights won in four of the categories.
George McPhee On Winning General Manager Of The Year
Golden Knights General Manager George Mcphee talks about winning General Manager of the Year and the Golden Knights.
Deryk Engelland On Winning Mark Messier Award
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland talks about winning the Mark Messier award how much impact a team can have on a community.
Gerard Gallant On Winning Jack Adams Award
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks about winning the Jack Adams award at the NHL Awards.
William Karlsson On Winning The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
William Karlsson goes over the Golden Knights season and him winning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 19
Golden Knights release 2018 preseason schedule
The Golden Knights will be back on the ice at T-Mobile Arena Sept. 16. The team’s 2018 NHL preseason schedule was announced Monday. Scheduled is a matchup with the L.A. Kings — Sept. 20 at Staples Center and Sept. 28 at T-Mobile. Two games against the Colorado Avalanche — Sept. 18 in Denver and Sept. 24 at T-Mobile. Two games against the San Jose Sharks — Sept. 22 at San Jose and Sept. 30 in Las Vegas. The team also announced it will hold its training camp at City National Arena beginning Sept. 13.
Golden Edge Look Ahead: What The Knights Next Season Will Look Like
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journals sports columnist Ed Graney and Adam Hill go over what to expect from the Golden Knights next season.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 14
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Stick Salute To Fans
The Vegas Golden Knights host a fan fest on Fremont Street to celebrate the teams achievements throughout the 2017-2018 season. Fans were treated to live entertainment, free Golden Knights merchandise and the players came out to see fans.
David Perron talks about becoming a free agent
Vegas Golden Knights winger David Perron talked to the news media a day after their season ended in the Stanley Cup Final. Perron said he wants to stay in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights' season ends, but accomplishments stand
Take a video tour through the Golden Knights' accomplishments in their inaugural season.
Golden Knights fans give advice to their team
Golden Knights fans give advice to the team as they head into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final down 3-1 against the Washington Capitals. (Rochelle Richards/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final
Vegas Golden Knights fans party at Toshiba Plaza outside T-Mobile Arena before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals on May 30, 2018 in Las Vegas.
Crowd goes crazy moments before puck drop
The crowd at T-Mobile Arena goes crazy moments before the puck drops in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves becomes Golden Knights' latest unlikely hero
Ryan Reaves has become the Golden Knights latest unlikely hero. Reaves scored the series-clinching goal in the Western Conference Finals. It was his first goal with the Golden Knights. It came after Reaves sat for Vegas' first nine playoff games. Now he's become a integral part of the team's forecheck. He gets his chance and he goes in there and he played great hockey. It’s not surprising.
Golden Knights’ Fleury tickles Wheeler’s ear during Game 3 scrum
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury tickled Jets' Blake Wheeler during a scrum in Game 3. The scrum occured behind Vegas’ net with 2:34 left in the second period of the Golden Knights’ 4-2 victory over Winnipeg on Wednesday night Wheeler, whose helmet was off and had his back to the goalie, somehow seemed unfazed. The Golden Knights lead the Western Conference final series 2-1, and host Game 4 on Friday night.
Voices of Golden Knights players welcome visitors at McCarran airport
Four Golden Knights players will start delivering recorded messages this week as part of the “Voices of Vegas” program at McCarran International Airport.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like