Tue, 25 Feb 2020

DeBoer, Golden Knights ready for Habs

Field Level Media
18 Jan 2020, 10:05 GMT+10

The Vegas Golden Knights will be seeking to continue success under new coach Peter DeBoer when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

The Golden Knights won their first game under DeBoer on Thursday night, when they defeated the host Ottawa Senators 4-2.

Former Senators standout forward Mark Stone scored for the first time against his old club and assisted on another goal, and Paul Stastny produced two points (one goal, one assist) for the second time in January. Chandler Stephenson scored a short-handed goal and Ryan Reaves also tallied as Vegas evened its mark at 1-1-0 on a season-long eight-game road trip.

DeBoer, 51, led both the San Jose Sharks and New Jersey Devils to Stanley Cup Finals appearances in his first season with each team. The general feeling around the NHL was that the coach would not be unemployed for very long.

Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon decided to fire Gerard Gallant just 19 months after he led the expansion team to the Stanley Cup Final.

"It's a good group," DeBoer said of his new team. "After a tough week and some hard days, it was nice to get a win and move past that. There are some things we need to clean up, (but) there are way more positives than negatives here."

High-scoring forward William Karlsson is on the mend for Vegas. Karlsson, who scored 43 goals two seasons ago, is week-to-week with an upper-body injury. The Swede has 10 goals in 49 games and has been replaced by Nicolas Roy.

Montreal continues to reap the benefits of the signing of left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, who joined the Canadiens on Jan. 3. The 2001 No. 1 overall pick has posted seven points (three goals, four assists) in his seven games with Montreal.

In Thursday's 4-1 road win over Philadelphia, Kovalchuk scored twice, Tomas Tatar produced a goal and two assists and Phillip Danault assisted on three goals as Montreal rebounded from Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Montreal scored four unanswered against the Flyers.

The win moved the Canadiens to 3-1-0 in their last four games after a stretch in which they lost their previous eight (0-7-1).

Kovalchuk, 36, said he and his teammates have their sights on pushing for a playoff spot -- despite the eight-game losing skid.

"That's the one goal we've got, to make the playoffs," Kovalchuk said. "So we're going to make a push, nobody is giving up in this locker room. I'm just one of the soldiers, so I'm going to go and try my best to help the team to win more games."

--Field Level Media

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