For the first time this year, the Vegas Golden Knights will face the horror of being knocked out of the playoffs, largely due to key player injuries during the campaign and a poor finish to the course.
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Despite their 42 wins and 92 points overall, the team received confirmation from head coach Peter DeBoer Wednesday of their early vacation, which was due to begin after Friday’s final game of the season against the Blues of St. Louis. Their elimination became official when the Dallas Stars went into overtime in their duel against the Arizona Coyotes. At about the same time, the Knights were trailing 4-3 in a shootout against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The wondrous 2017-2018 season, crowned by a participation in the Stanley Cup final, is now widely remembered by the club’s supporters. In 2021-2022, Vegas had to deal with the physical ailments of some, including Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone and Robin Lehner, who missed numerous games. Their substitutes did their best, but it wasn’t enough. Overall, the current five-of-six game losing streak didn’t help.
“In this type of game you don’t hate your game, but the fact remains you haven’t done enough to win in regular time or overtime and make sure you remove the question marks,” commented website NHL.com Pacioretty, goalscorer in Chicago. There will be a lot of regrets this summer, a lot of reflections… but I’ve never lost hope. That makes it even harder to digest at the moment.”
“That’s what we’re playing for,” said teammate Chandler Stephenson of the playoffs. From the beginning of the year, the training camp prepares for the playoffs. It’s obviously disappointing. We didn’t want to be where we are but there have been injuries, crazy injuries throughout the season. It’s tough, sure.”
But even before the first duel in the National Hockey League, the Knights were among the favorites for the highest award. After all, they had reached the third round of the playoffs last summer and relied on a talented core. However, the uncertainties worked against them, not to mention the fact that Jack Eichel had to wait a long time to appear on the scene.
“Can people say on paper that we’re missing an ingredient? On the other hand, everyone knows that hard work always triumphs over talent. The chemistry is probably the most important aspect, on and off the ice,” Pacioretty pointed out, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
DeBoer says he’s ready to take on the music. The criticism of him is already well received.
“I’m surprised and disappointed. I’m on the front lines to take my responsibilities. There were many expectations of this training. It’s not easy and nobody feels good.”