Playing against former teams has been a storyline all year and understandably it boiled over yesterday with Marc-Andre Fleury’s return to Pittsburgh.
All Star head coach Gerard Gallant joked early in the season that the “revenge game” was overblown. Then, after a win over the Buffalo Sabres in which “fourth” line forward William Carrier played his best game, Gallant’s mind was changed.
I didn’t think this was a big deal but William Carrier played his best game tonight against his old team. His old team is Buffalo, so it definitely made a difference. I didn’t think it did, but tonight he proved to me that he played his best game so far. He played real well. -Gallant
Since then the answer has been the same from Gallant when asked about any player facing his former team; he expects them to play one of their best games because “that’s how it seems to go.”
So, let’s take a look at how the Golden Knights have actually fared against their old teams.
*Bellemare and Carpenter have yet to face their former teams.
The effort might be there, but the numbers certainly aren’t as a whole. In 21 games they have just five goals from forwards, 11 assists, and a +4 rating.
On to defensemen.
*Sbisa was on IR for the game against Vancouver. Garrison did not play in either game against Tampa Bay. Vegas has yet to play Merrill’s former team, New Jersey.
The defensemen have fared well against their old teams. In 10 games they are +7 without a single player in the minus.
Finally, Fleury and Subban.
Darn, those numbers looked so much better before the Golden Knights D left Fleury out to dry.
Next up, it’s Ryan Carpenter’s return to San Jose, then Pierre-Edouard Bellemare takes on his former mates, the Flyers, at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday.
(Stick tap to Charles Morrison for assisting in the research for this article)