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Golden Knights Analysis

Golden Knights 7-Game Homestand Critical For Future Of Season

The Vegas Golden Knights will begin a seven-game, 22-day homestand tomorrow against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is by far their longest homestand of the season…



The Vegas Golden Knights will begin a seven-game, 22-day homestand tomorrow against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is by far their longest homestand of the season and will take them through the majority of the month of Janurary. This gives the VGK several opportunities to not only establish themselves on home ice, but get healthy, and get a better feel for their overall team as we enter the season half of the season.

"It's a big one; it is an opportunity for us to establish ourselves on home ice. I think we were really good at the beginning of the year, it slipped, but we have been playing really well at home over the last little bit. We have such a good fanbase, and it is such a great environment at T-Mobile," said Jack Eichel.

Eichel was one of three injured players to skate in the Golden Knight's practice Wednesday. He and Paul Cotter were seen in regular contact jerseys and will play against the Penguins Thursday, barring a setback. Jonathan Marchessault, who has missed a handful of games, was seen skating in a blue no-contact jersey. Head coach Bruce Cassidy says the team hopes to get him back for their Saturday matchup against the Los Angeles Kings.

"It makes us a better team. No disrespect to the younger guys who have come up and helped us win. Now you put Jack (Eichel) in and Paul (Cotter), who had been playing good hockey before he got hurt, and Marchy (Jonathan Marchessault), who can score at a 30-goal pace, he's not that far off," said Cassidy.

Despite the return of Eichel, the Golden Knight's first line of Chandler Stephenson, Mark Stone, and Michael Amadio was not changed. Amadio, who has nine points in his last seven games, remained on a line with Stone and Stephenson as Eichel played alongside Nicolas Roy and Reilly Smith.

"He's played well for us, so there is no use in messing with that right now. Playing in the top-six in this league is a challenge for everybody, but so far so good with Ammo (Michael Amadio)… to me, it is a win-win, I have got both good choices no matter what we do," coach Cassidy said in regards to the lines.

Roy, who is primarily a center, will be playing first-line right wing just one game after he snapped a 17-game goal drought and scored two goals. Typically a hard-hitting depth forward, the 6-foot-4 Roy says he does not plan on changing his game despite being on the first line.

"Obviously, there's a little adjustment because we're going to try to make more plays that are trying to be more offensive to our game. But I don't want to switch my game too much. If I'm there, it is for a reason, and I think I want to make space; if I'm going to play with Jack (Eichel), they're going to make plays too. So just get the puck back, win battles, and get in front of the net," said Roy.

An advantage of the Golden Knight's homestand is that they have easier access to the Henderson Silver Knights, specifically Laurent Brossoit, a traditional backup NHL goaltender who had overstayed his conditioning stint due to the Golden Knights having both Logan Thompson and Adin Hill in the NHL.

Perhaps the Golden Knights can use this seven-game homestand to give Brossoit a look before they inevitably make a decision on which two NHL-capable goaltenders they roll with for the rest of the season.

Overall, the Golden Knights are in an eerily similar situation that they were in last season. Around the Holiday break last year, they were first in the Pacific Division and Western Conference, but then started to deal with injured and eventually spun out and missed the postseason. A seven-game homestand can help the Golden Knights adjust their course from going down the same path. Injured players coming back only helps them steer the course more.

"We don't want to repeat what happened last year. I like where we are; we're in a good spot and still working on our game, finding our stride. As the season goes along, we want to just keep getting better, and by the time the playoffs come out, hopefully, we're hitting our stride then," said Nicolas Hague.

Upcoming VGK Schedule (All Games Home): 1/5 v Pittsburgh 7:00 p.m., 1/7 v Los Angeles 7:00 p.m., 1/12 v Florida 7:00 p.m., 1/14 v Edmonton 7:00 p.m., 1/16 v Dallas 3:00 p.m., 1/19 v Detroit 7:00 p.m., 1/21 v Washington 7:00 p.m.