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Injuries leave Golden Knights short on goalies

Expansion team down to two under NHL contract after Dansk exits against Islanders

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The Vegas Golden Knights now have more injured goalies signed to NHL contracts than they have healthy ones. It's become one of the strangest subplots in what has been arguably the NHL's best story in the first month of the season.

"I don't really know what to tell you," Vegas defenseman Colin Miller said. "It's a weird thing."

Dansk sustained a lower-body injury and left after allowing a power-play goal at 14:50 of the second period in Vegas' 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders at Barclays Center. Maxime Lagace, the fourth of Vegas' five goalies signed to NHL contracts, made seven saves on 11 shots in what was his NHL debut in relief of Dansk.

Video: VGK@NYI: Dansk leaves with injury in 2nd

The Golden Knights announced Tuesday that Dansk has been put on injured reserve and will miss at least the remainder of their road trip, which has five games left. The Golden Knights recalled 19-year-old junior goaltender Dylan Ferguson on an emergency basis from Kamloops of the Western Hockey League.

Lagace is expected to start against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; SN1, MSG, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV). Ferguson is 4-9-0 with a 4.05 goals-against average and .878 save percentage in 13 appearances with Kamloops this season.

"It's all part of it, I guess," Gallant said. "It's the next guy up. [Lagace] went in there and played his first NHL game. He's going to battle hard and work hard and we'll see where it goes."

What is somewhat remarkable, though, is how the Golden Knights, from the players, including Lagace, to Gallant to assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon (general manager George McPhee is not in New York with the team) seem to be handling the latest setback to their goaltending.

Video: VGK@NYI: Dansk scrambles to turn away Tavares

There didn't appear to be any panic from anyone after the game Monday when they had every right to worry, considering they've already used four goalies in 10 games. That ties the Arizona Coyotes (Antti Raanta, Louis Domingue, Adin Hill, Scott Wedgewood) for the most used this season.

"That's crazy," Lagace said. "Bad luck. I don't know what's going on. But it's OK. We'll find a way."

Miller and forward Alex Tuch echoed Gallant's next man up mantra.

"It gives guys opportunities that normally they wouldn't get," Miller said. "[Lagace] is getting thrown in the fire here a bit, but I'm sure he'll do fine. He's played hockey a long time and he'll be all right. We're all confident in Max. He'll be ready to go."

Lagace didn't even seen fazed by allowing four goals in his NHL debut.

"Not the start I obviously wanted for [my] first NHL [appearance], but I'll watch the video and see what I can do better and then right back at it [Tuesday]," he said.

It appears that this is how the Golden Knights are going to have to operate for a while.

Subban is out at least another two to three weeks. Dansk is out for at least the rest of the road trip. And even though Fleury is with the team, he's been working out on his own; he hasn't been seen skating yet, and any hope for his immediate return was squashed by Gallant anyway.

"I don't know when he's going to come back," Gallant said. "We all know what concussions are. He's feeling better and he's working hard, but until the trainer comes and tells me he's real close he's going to be a while. Until he's gets on the ice, we've got to wait and see."

McCrimmon called the goalie situation an unfortunate set of circumstances, especially because all three injured goalies were playing well at the time they went down. Dansk, in fact, was the NHL's Second Star last week.

"Marc-Andre had a great start to the season, was injured," McCrimmon said. "Then you're happy that Malcom Subban gets an opportunity to play, flourishes. You're kind of finding a silver lining in Marc-Andre's injury based on Subban getting an opportunity. Then he's injured. Oscar Dansk goes in relief, gets a win, then gets two more, so you find the positives in that for him making the best of his opportunity, then this happened."

So, it's Lagace's net for now, with Ferguson leaving his junior team to jump on for the ride.

No one can accuse the Golden Knights for being boring.

"Pretty crazy," Miller said.

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