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Golden Knights Begin Pair Of Division Rivalries On This Week's Road Trip

Vegas plays in Edmonton on Tuesday and Vancouver on Thursday

by Gary Lawless @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Malcolm Subban got on a plane Monday afternoon. Pretty routine stuff for a professional athlete but for the Vegas Golden Knights this was hopefully the beginning of the end to the Great Goaltending Catastrophe of 2017.

Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant wouldn't speculate on when Subban might be ready for game action, "he hasn't been cleared and he hasn't practiced with the team," was all Gallant would offer prior to Monday's team flight to Edmonton where they'll meet the Oilers on Tuesday night.

Still, the fact Subban has travelled with the team in order to continue working with goalie coach Dave Prior while the team is on the road this week is an encouraging sign.

There's no timetable on Subban it's clear he's getting closer to game action. The Golden Knights have used four goalies in games this year (Dylan Ferguson has backed up Max Lagace in five games but not faced any game shots).

Video: Gerard Gallant checks in ahead of matchup vs. Oilers

 

Face-of-the-franchise and No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion in Game 4 of the season. Subban took over and was brilliant until suffering a leg injury in Game 7. Oscar Dansk, No. 3 on the depth chart for those scoring at home, hung around for parts of four games before suffering an injury in Game 10.

Lagace has now seen action in seven straight games and owns a 2-4-1 record with an .876 save percentage.

Give Lagace credit for keeping the Golden Knights afloat through a miserable run of injuries. But getting Subban and eventually Fleury and Dansk back in the lineup is critical for Vegas in its pursuit of a playoff berth.

Goaltending is the most important position in the NHL and the Golden Knights appear to have depth in the position which is promising for both the long and short term. They just need to get healthy.

 

Video: Karlsson scores two as Golden Knights top Jets, 5-2

 

Day-to-day: Veteran defenseman Luca Sbisa did not make the trip with the Golden Knights and Gallant listed him as day-to-day. Expect Shea Theodore or Jon Merrill to draw in Tuesday night.

3 of 5: NHL coaches break the 82-game season into a series of five-game segments and the accepted equation for reaching the postseason is six points in the bank out of a possible 10 over these segments. In essence, win three of five all season (or collect six points through a combination of wins and overtime losses) and a team will end up in the neighborhood of 96 points which most often earns a team a spot in the Stanley Cup tournament.

Vegas has played 16 games has 21 points at this stage which has them on pace for 108 points.

Home Cooking: Great quote from Nate Schmidt on the weekend when he was asked why his club was 7-1 on home ice: "Because the house always wins," smirked Schmidt. ""You always hear about that one guy that walks away a winner. His friends gave all their money away, though so he could be a winner."

Coming up: Vegas meets the Oilers in Edmonton on Tuesday and they'll be matched up against one of the best players in the world in Connor McDavid. McDavid leads the Oilers with seven goals and 12 assists. He's the best skater in the NHL and often plays the game at a different pace than anyone else on the ice. The Oilers are 6-9-2 and have been slow out of the game.

Coming up redux: Game 2 of the road trip sees the Golden Knights travelling to Vancouver for a game with the Canucks on Thursday night. Vancouver is a team in transition and sits just out of the playoff picture with an 8-7-2 mark. Brock Boeser leads the Canucks with five goals and nine assists.

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