Peter DeBoer’s worst fears were realized Thursday night as the Vegas Golden Knights went on the road to play the Los Angeles Kings. The coach knew his team had to account for Kings superstar center Anze Kopitar if they wanted to win. Instead, Kopitar toyed with the visitors, notching a hat trick and finishing with a five-point performance in L.A.’s 6-2 win at Staples Center.
The bigger issue for the Knights is captain Mark Stone, who left the game in the second period with what appeared to be a lower-body injury. Stone did not return and DeBoer said after the game he wasn’t sure what the extent of Stone’s injury was or how long he may be out. He said he’d probably have a better idea today after talking to the team’s medical staff. The Knights have today off and don’t play again until next Wednesday when they host St. Louis at T-Mobile Arena.
DeBoer did say Stone has been dealing with a lingering issue that has been bothering him on and off but did not say if it was connected to what happened to him Thursday. Stone injured himself with 12:20 to go in the second period after taking a shot from the slot, then suddenly hunched over in pain and made it to the bench under his own power. He was then helped to the dressing room.
Around the National Hockey Now Network:
PittsburghHockeyNow: Our Dan Kingerski says fans are bailing on the Penguins and the team is working hard to sell out Saturday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks and Marc-Andre Fleury.
NYIHockeyNow: Stefen Rosner says the Islanders’ failure to communicate led to their demise in Thursday’s opener against Carolina. If he were alive today, Strother Martin would agree.
ColoradoHockeyNow: Adrian Dater says the Avalanche plan to honor former general manager Pierre Lacroix Saturday and one of Lacroix’s greatest additions to the Avs’ Stanley Cup lineup, Peter Forsberg, plans to be there at Bell Arena for the ceremony.
MontrealHockeyNow: The Canadiens were manhandled by the Sabres Thursday, 5-1, and Mitch Gallo said that is not a good thing.
TorontoHockeyNow: Scott Cullen said the Leafs ran into a hot goaltender in Ottawa’s Anton Forsberg and came out on the short end as a result.
VancouverHockeyNow: Rob Simpson caught up with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and chatted on a variety of topics.
CalgaryHockeyNow: Now that his brother Brady got paid in Ottawa, Steve Macfarlane says Matthew Tkachuk is next in line for a big deal to stay in Calgary with the Flames.
SanJoseHockeyNow: How did the Sharks’ William Eklund celebrate his birthday? He went to IKEA for a lunch of Swedish meatballs. Cliche as it sounds, Sheng Peng reports that is exactly what happened.
FloridaHockeyNow: Anton Lundell had a night to rememberers the rookie scored his first NHL goal and the Florida Panthers defeated Pittsburgh. Colby Guy has the details.