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Golden Knights working to get 'on the same page'

15 players make Vegas debut in win against Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Jason Garrison played against many of his new Vegas Golden Knights teammates during his first eight NHL seasons. Now he's learning to play with them.

Garrison, a 32-year-old defenseman, made his Golden Knights debut -- along with 14 other players -- in a 4-1 victory against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Tuesday, the second preseason win for the expansion team in its first two games.

 

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"It's fun, it's really different," said Garrison, who was paired with Colin Miller, played 23:16 and had two first-period assists. "I mean, lines and defense pairings can get mixed up almost every year, but in this situation, it's pretty much new lines and pairings for everybody.

"So, you need a lot of communication, you have to talk quite a bit on the ice. Everybody's got to be on the same page. Over time, eventually guys will be able to do a little bit more on the ice. It takes a few practices, it takes a few games.

"A lot of the veterans are probably going to play more preseason games (than usual) just to get used to the systems, to get used to the routine, to each other. You can make mistakes in preseason games and learn from them. You grow and prepare yourself for the regular season."

Aside from learning to mesh with new teammates, the Golden Knights are adapting to new on-ice rules, including a crackdown on slashing and faceoff violations.

Video: VGK@COL: Hunt rips a slap shot top corner

The Golden Knights and Avalanche combined for 16 penalties, six for slashing and two for faceoff infractions.

"We are all getting used to each other and there's a lot of adaptation process for us with the new rules and everything," said Vegas left wing Jonathan Marchessault, who scored a first-period power-play goal on a two-man advantage. "The faceoffs, the penalties, I like what they're doing. It's a big change, but it's good. It's going to open up the play and make more room to stay with the puck. I think it's a good thing."

It should help a skilled forward like Marchessault, who scored 30 goals for the Florida Panthers last season. He played on a line with Reilly Smith and Russian center Vadim Shipachyov, who made his NHL debut after spending the previous nine seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League.

"It was the first game, so we need a lot of adaptation," Marchessault said. "Me and Reilly, we know each other. We played together a little bit last year (for Florida). I know what kind of player he is, he knows what kind I am. It wasn't perfect, but as we go on we'll be better."

Shipachyov, 30, had 76 points (26 goals, 50 assists) in 50 games last season for SKA St. Petersburg, but it also will take some time for him to adjust to the smaller NHL rinks.

Video: VGK@COL: Marchessault beats Martin five-hole

"It's good," Marchessault said of Shipachyov, who didn't have a shot on goal in 13:04 and lost seven of nine faceoffs. "There's a lot of improvement that we need to do, but overall it wasn't bad. I mean, I was talking to [Smith] and you kind of forget how long it's been when you're out in the summer. So, it was good to get that first one out of the way."

Said coach Gerard Gallant: "It's exciting, it's great. The players are excited, and we're 2-0 in the exhibition games, not that they count for anything. But we want to see our players play the game and we want to win them."

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