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Stanley Cup Final

Golden Knights could make changes for Game 5 of Cup Final

Karlsson misses practice, expected to play vs. Capitals; Vegas may alter fourth line

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

LAS VEGAS -- William Karlsson did not practice Wednesday, but the Vegas Golden Knights forward is expected to be in the lineup against the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"He took a day off, it was an optional practice," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "As you saw, everybody was out there, but the best thing for him for tomorrow night was to take the day off. He'll be fine for tomorrow ..."

The Golden Knights trail the best-of-7 series 3-1.

Karlsson, who plays on the first line with Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault, has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He had 43 goals in the regular season, third in the NHL behind Alex Ovechkin (49) of the Capitals and Patrik Laine (44) of the Winnipeg Jets.


[RELATED: Golden Knights need more from top line in Game 5 | Complete Golden Knights vs. Capitals series coverage]


Karlsson has one goal (Game 1) in the first four games of the Cup Final and three points (two goals, one assist) in his past seven games. He has five shots on goal in the Final games after averaging 2.25 shots per game during the regular season.

Marchessault said Wednesday that he has no doubt Karlsson will be in the lineup.

"He's one tough Swede," Marchessault said. 

Although Karlsson is expected to play, there may be other changes for the Golden Knights on their bottom two lines.

Video: WSH@VGK, Gm1: Karlsson capitalizes on carom

"We talked about, I mean, first day of the playoffs we talked about we might use 30 guys," Gallant said. "Who knows what's going to happen with the group. Come work hard and play hard, everybody gets an opportunity. That's what's been going on for the group all season long. It's nothing new for our group, it's a bunch of good guys and that's a big part of our team."

Forward William Carrier has not played since sustaining an undisclosed injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round against the San Jose Sharks on May 4, but he could be in the lineup. He rotated on the fourth line with Ryan Reaves in practice. Carrier has no points in nine postseason games. Reaves has two goals in 10 games.

"What you see with Will Carrier is he is a fast guy, he's a heavy guy, he skates really well, and he goes to the net," Gallant said. "He's played really good hockey for us, and if we decide to put him in the lineup tomorrow night, that is what he will bring to us."

Four players skated on the third line with Tomas Tatar, David Perron and Ryan Carpenter rotating on the wings with Cody Eakin at center.

Perron was scratched for Game 4, replaced by Tatar, who was plus-1 and had one shot on goal in 12:37 of ice time.

Carpenter practiced longer than the other forwards, suggesting he could be scratched. He has five assists in 17 postseason games.


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