According to multiple reports, the Vegas Golden Knights are expected to take to the ice tonight for Game 3 against the Los Angeles Kings, without deadline day acquisition Tomas Tatar in the lineup.
Yikes. To be clear, Tatar’s not injured right?
It’s expected that veteran David Perron will be good to go for tonight’s pivotal game making Tatar the odd man out. That’s not exactly a good spot for the 27 year old winger who was traded for a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round draft pick ahead of the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline. In fairness, Tatar has gone pointless in Vegas’ first two playoff games this post season, but he has managed four goals and six points in 20 games since being acquired from the Detroit Red Wings back in February. In total, he has 20 goals and 34 in 82 games this season.
If in fact Tatar gets “health bombed” tonight in LA, it’s expected that Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant will ice a lineup that looks something like this:
Jonathan Marchessault - William Karlsson - Reilly Smith
Alex Tuch - Erik Haula - James Neal
Ryan Carpenter - Cody Eakin - David Perron
Tomas Nosek - Pierre Edouard Bellemare - William Carrier
Brayden McNabb - Nate Schmidt
Deryk Engelland - Shea Theodore
Jon Merrill - Colin Miller
Of course, goaltender Marc Andre Fleury gets the start in goal with Malcolm Subban backing him up from the bench.
If indeed Tatar is scratch, it likely won’t mean the end of him in Vegas, however. Any Red Wings fan will tell you that the guy is the definition of an inconsistent player and that he has the ability to go completely invisible for games at a time. It may be that Tatar is simply going through a stretch like that right now. Unfortunately for him, with a shot at the Stanley Cup on the line, the Golden Knights can’t risk ANYONE taking a night off, regardless of how much skill they possess.
Puck drop is 7pm PT tonight from Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Vegas has an opportunity to take a 3-0 stranglehold on the series… something NOBODY could have predicted when this team came into existence less than a calendar year ago. Simply incredible.