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Golden Knights mulling lineup changes ahead of Game 7

Options on table entering deciding first-round game against Sharks

by Danny Webster / NHL.com Correspondent

LAS VEGAS -- The Vegas Golden Knights could change their lineup ahead of Game 7 of the Western Conference First Round against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS, NBCSCA, ATTSN-RM).

Coach Gerard Gallant said there's a chance a rested body will play in the Golden Knights' first Game 7 since entering the NHL last season. 

"We're going to think about that today, for sure," Gallant said. "That's definitely a possibility. I'm not saying we're going to do it, just saying we're talking about it.

"I think if a guy comes into our lineup, he's going to be really excited and real happy. We've got some good players that haven't played yet. We'll see."

 

[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Golden Knights series coverage]

 

The winner of the best-of-7 series will advance to the second round and play the Colorado Avalanche.

Vegas did not practice Monday and is expected to hold an optional skate Tuesday, so it's uncertain what the projected forward lines may look like. Nikita Gusev has not participated in a full practice since signing a one-year, entry-level contract with the Golden Knights on April 14. The reigning MVP of the Kontinental Hockey League may not yet be conditioned to adjust to the smaller NHL ice.

Brandon Pirri scored 12 goals in 31 games during the regular season. He scored eight in his first 11 games after being recalled from Chicago of the American Hockey League on Dec. 19 but four in the final 14 he dressed.

Ryan Carpenter had 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 68 games. He is a defensive-minded forward who can contribute on the penalty kill.

Much like Carpenter, Tomas Nosek is a valuable penalty killer. He could move to the fourth line in place of William Carrier or Ryan Reaves.

It's a change that could determine the Golden Knights' season, but Gallant enjoys the thought of having this type of game.

"You have to get ready for tomorrow and play your best game," he said. "Everybody knows there's no tomorrow after tomorrow. Play your game. Win the hockey game, you move on. You lose, you're gone for the summer. I assume our guys will be ready to go."

The Golden Knights were defeated 2-1 in double-overtime of Game 6 at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday. The game (91:17) was the second-longest in their history behind a 2-1 double-overtime win against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the 2018 first round that lasted 95:23.

"Obviously disappointed with last night but today's a new day," Gallant said, "You get right back it and say, 'We're involved in a Game 7 in the first round.'"

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