LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Golden Knights start a season-long five-game road trip against the playoff-hungry Florida Panthers. Puck drop is 4 p.m. PST.
Coach Bruce Cassidy is pushing his team to get faster starts, and the message is getting through to the Knights. The team is tied with the Los Angeles Kings at the top of the Pacific Division. Both teams have 82 points, but the Knights have two games in hand.
“They’re playing for a playoff spot tonight. So these are the elevated atmospheres, too, that we need to get ready,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said.
Cassidy wants the Knights to get to their game quickly, and score first if they can.
“They’re going to be a desperate team, and we’ve got to be able to play our game and not match their pace, but do ours,” top-line forward Jonathan Marchessault said.
The team is getting fast contributions from Ivan Barbashev — who scored two goals in the Knights’ 4-3 win over Montreal on Sunday. Marchessault compared Barbashev to his longtime linemate Reilly Smith. “You never have enough guys like that on your team,” he said.
Marchessault said Barbashev, goalie Jonathan Quick and Teddy Blueger have been welcome additions.
“We wanted to get our team chemistry back a little bit. I think it’s been slacking the past few years,” he said. “We wanted to get it back … as at the first year. I think that it’s as close as it’s ever been from that year.”
Marchessault said veterans Quick and Phil Kessel have really helped team chemistry this year.
Golden Knights at Florida Panthers
- Faceoff: 4 p.m. Tuesday, FLA Live Arena
- TV/Radio: AT&T Sportsnet/KKGK, 1340 AM, 98.9 FM
- Records: Panthers 31-27-6; Golden Knights 38-19-6
- Notes: The Panthers are one of four Eastern Conference teams tied at 68 points, just outside the playoff picture. They are chasing the Pittsburgh Penguins (71 points) and the New York Islanders (72). Chandler Stephenson leads the Knights with 50 points (12 goals, 38 assists), followed by Jack Eichel at 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists).