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Golden Knights vs. Stars: Stone Says He’s Ready to Play

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Vegas Golden Knights Win Stanley Cup, Defeat Florida Panthers 7-2

Captain Mark Stone announced he would be in the Vegas Golden Knights’ lineup tonight in Game of best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal against the Dallas Stars.

Stone hasn’t played since lacerating his spleen Feb. 20 game against the Nashville Predators.

His announcement surprises no one, least of all the Stars who anticipated he would be back as soon as doctors cleared him to practice (with a non-contact) jersey the day after the regular-season ended.

The original prognosis was Stone would be out three to four months, but that presumably did not take into account how badly he would want to be ready for the postseason. The Golden Knights didn’t have the cap space to bring him back before then. Once the postseason begins, the salary cap no longer matters.

Injured defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is also expected to return from injury in this game for the defending Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights.

Game Time

Monday: Vegas at Dallas, Game 1 Western Conference Quarterfinal

Where: American Airlines Center

TV/RADIO: ESPN (National) and Scripps Sports (Local)/98.9 FM/1340 AM and 1460. AM (for Spanish)

Time: 6:30 p.m., PT

Vegas Preview

Bruce Cassidy hasn’t named a starting goalie, but Logan Thompson played impressively not the stretch. He is the likely choice of Adin Hill who was the team’s goalie in last year’s Stanley Cup run…The Golden Knights were 3-0 against Dallas this season, but have not played them since December…Stone will play with Chandler Stephenson and Tomas Hertl who wasn’t on the team when Stone went down. “The question mark will be Hertl,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “How do they read off each other? Et cetera. They’re two smart players. I think they’ll figure it out. How long will that take? I don’t know. I don’t have a good answer to that, because they haven’t played together, and Tomas is just finding his way into the lineup and sorting some things out how we play. At least Mark has that in his back pocket.”

Golden Knights projected lineup

Ivan Barbashev — Jack Eichel — Jonathan Marchessault

Chandler Stephenson — Tomas Hertl — Mark Stone

Pavel Dorofeyev — William Karlsson — Anthony Mantha

Paul Cotter — Nicolas Roy — Keegan Kolesar

Alex Pietrangelo — Alec Martinez

Noah Hanifin — Nicolas Hague

Brayden McNabb — Shea Theodore

Dallas Preview

Defenseman Jani Hakanpaa will miss Game 1 with a lower body injury…The Stars were 17-4 in their last 21 games.