With 11 games to play on their schedule, the Vegas Golden Knights find themselves in a tough fight for a playoff berth, much more than they would have thought a few months ago.
But now the formation of Nevada experienced a major slump during the first two and a half months of the year 2022, to the point where their place in the sun is far from guaranteed.
Heading into Monday’s games, the Knights were just a narrow point ahead of the Dallas Stars for second in the standings of teams drafted in the West.
In addition, the Stars have three games in hand over their rivals (68 games played against 71 for Vegas).
At least Peter DeBoer’s squad has been looking better for about two weeks, and that’s encouraging according to Quebec forward Jonathan Marchessault.
“It’s good for our morale (to have lined up a few victories), he admitted Monday, in an interview with The Antechamber. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs as a team this year. But there, we placed ourselves in a situation of which we are not really proud, and we have to get out of trouble. We have to look in the mirror and focus on our victories to reach the playoffs. Our goalkeepers were good and gave us chances to win. »
More often than not since joining the Bettman circuit, the Knights have been masters of their own destiny. Currently, this is not really the case.
“We have to look at ourselves,” Marchessault said. We cannot depend on other teams. If we win all our games by the end of the season, we will enter the playoffs. You have to look at it one game at a time, much like we knew it in the first year of the Golden Knights’ existence. »
While several important Knights elements are missing on the offensive side – Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Reilly Smith, Nolan Patrick and William Carrier are missing, in particular – Marchessault says he and his teammates are happy that Evgenii Dadonov returned to the lineup, having been sent to the Anaheim Ducks at the trade deadline, but later asserted his no-trade clause, which had mysteriously been forgotten.
“It was a bit special, you don’t think that’s the kind of thing that happens in the NHL. But as a hockey player, you work hard to have a certain contract and certain conditions. Good for him if he was able to have a clause preventing him from going to certain teams. Anaheim was among them, and he held his own. He did well, and we are happy to have him. He’s a big chunk for us. »
Meanwhile, Marchessault was happy to see his friend and former teammate Marc-André Fleury get the chance to join a title contender in recent weeks.
“I’m not at all surprised to see that Marc-André performs as soon as he arrives there. It has been proven for many years that he is among the best. The fact that he is in his late thirties doesn’t change that. Cam Talbot and him form a very good duo of goalkeepers, and it is certain that it will be one of the teams to beat in the playoffs. »