LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Golden Knights had a weekend to remember, with back-to-back wins over Eastern Conference powerhouse Carolina and St. Louis.
The 4-0 shutout over the Hurricanes on Saturday night underlined the importance of adding goaltender Jonathan Quick. Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, Paul Cotter and Brett Howden had goals.
“Quick was unbelievable tonight, and we were able to get him the shutout,” Marchessault said. “It’s kind of easy to get a guy like that going in your locker room. Such a good veteran (who) has been out there for a long time. We’re lucky to have him.”
The fast turnaround to Sunday’s start against the Blues pushed the Knights to put some new bodies on the ice — goaltender Jiri Patera and forward Pavel Dorofeyev, who replaced a banged-up Keegan Kolesar and played on the second line with William Karlsson and Reilly Smith.
Patera and Dorofeyev rose to the occasion as the Knights won, 5-3. It was Patera’s first NHL start, and coach Bruce Cassidy noted the importance of players stepping up when they are needed.
“He looked very comfortable in there,” Cassidy said. “Battled through some shots in the head and I think a skate issue. I thought they were all good goals against him.” He said the team probably relied on Patera a little too much in the second period for highlight saves.
“I’m glad we got the win,” Patera said. “Towards the end, it was a little bit scary, but we got the job done and I’m pretty sure we’re all happy.”
And, no knock against Patera, but the Knights probably don’t want to see him play another game this year after all the goaltender injuries they’ve been through. Quick is now 3-0 since joining the team, and reports indicate that Logan Thompson is skating again. Adin Hill and Laurent Brossoit continue to work toward returning.
The feel-good story out of Sunday’s game was Dorofeyev’s first NHL goal. He played several games for the Knights earlier in the season before he was sidelined with an injury.
“Happy for Pav,” Cassidy said. “I thought he had a really good game. You know, scores off his head. That’s one to remember.”
It was a celebration to remember, and social media played it up. After a scramble in front of the goal, the puck popped up and deflected off the visor on Dorofayev’s helmet. After several good chances to score a “beautiful” goal, it was the head shot that went in, and Dorofayev tapped his visor with a huge smile as his teammates surrounded him. It ended up as the winning goal.
But Cassidy had compliments beyond the goal.
“He’s kind of slippery around the net, right? He’s there, but he’s not this huge guy. But he finds a way to find pucks … I thought he complemented those guys well. He’s also willing to shoot,” Cassidy said.
The wins keep the Knights (88 points) ahead of the Dallas Stars and the Los Angeles Kings (both with 85 points) for the Western Conference lead.
Next up for the Knights, the closeout to the five-game road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers. Puck drop on Tuesday is at 4 p.m.