Injuries have dominated the storyline for the Golden Knights this season and they are a huge reason why the team is where it is in the playoff picture with 11 games to go.
Recently though Vegas has started to see a few key pieces return to the lineup and with them has come a growing confidence that they can push through and claim one of the final playoff spots.
I think when a player comes back it’s a boost for the team. The team does a little bit extra to try and make it good for you. -Robin Lehner
This has been on full display for the Golden Knights recently. From the three-goal comeback against Chicago in Alec Martinez’s return to the shutout in Seattle when Brayden McNabb stepped back into the lineup to the overtime win in Vancouver in Lehner’s return.
The challenge is to keep it up. Not only for the team to continue playing at a “boosted” level, but also to get consistent performances from those who have been out of the lineup and are likely not fully healthy.
I feel I’m close, but this time of year I need to be better than my 100 percent. It’s time to raise the bar. All of us. We need to win and there’s no other option. Just being good is not good enough right now. -Lehner
Lehner likely speaks for most players in the Golden Knights’ lineup. Rarely is any player completely healthy at this time of the season, but with a year like Vegas has had it’s to be expected that most guys are less than 100%. Adding Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone back into the mix will only muddy up these already muddy waters as well.
It’s going to be up to Pete DeBoer to find the balance necessary to get everything out of his players without asking too much from those who aren’t physically capable of it.
We have the luxury of not having to load up anyone on defense with the group we have back there. Up front we’re not as deep with the group we’ve got out we don’t have an option but to load up some of those guys. We can’t leave any bullets in the gun for playoffs until we clinch a ticket to make sure we are there. -DeBoer
Vegas does have the benefit of time between games for the rest of this week but then the schedule tightens up substantially for the final six games.
Decision-making will be paramount down the stretch because one wrong move could be fatal for a team that needs every win they can possibly get.