However, that story quickly changed when just after 4 P.M. on game day, the Vegas Golden Knights announced their entire coaching staff had been placed on isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test. Golden Knight’s general manager Kelly McCrimmon, along with Henderson Silver Knight coaches Manny Viveiros, Jamie Heward, and Joel Ward were thrust into coaching the team.
“We really didn’t find out [that our coaches were out] until we got here,” Pietrangelo said. “That was news to us when we arrived. McCrimmon has coached before and we had the guys from Henderson come up, they know what they’re doing too. We didn’t know what the plan was originally, but it worked out fine.”
As for the game itself, it was the standard Blues vs. Golden Knights game fans have come to know. Something about these two teams creates must-see television and tonight proved no exception. Alex Tuch opened the scoring for the Golden Knights just under four minutes into the game. Then the Blues rattled off three goals to close out the period, two coming from former Golden Knight David Perron. Max Pacioretty scored just one minute and 42 seconds into the second period to make it 3-2. Later in the period though, Jordan Kyrou scored on a breakaway to give the Blues a 4-2 lead. The Golden Knights have made a name for themselves this season in third periods, and tonight they did just that. Max Pacioretty willed the team to overtime by recording two goals in the third, giving him his seventh career hat trick and first with the Golden Knights. The five minute overtime period was not enough to decide the game, so the teams went to a shootout. Brayden Schenn scored the shootout winner for the Blues, knocking off the Golden Knights 5-4. Despite the loss, the Golden Knights were still able to pull out a point in a game that was in doubt for a long period of time.
“I give the players a lot of credit and I thought they played extremely hard,” McCrimmon said. “Usually when you get a point at home, you don’t call that a ‘good point’. I think when you’re down two goals in the third period, you do call that a ‘good point’.”
For the time being, the VGK will not have their regular coaches with them. Tonight’s hodge-podge of coaches had some hiccups, but performed admirably given the circumstances. They did have some miscues, including two bench minor penalties for too many men on the ice, but problems like that can and will be fixed by next game.
“We have such a good structure on this team that it doesn’t change when everyone is on the same page,” Pacioretty said. “I think we all take pride in our systems, we work on them on a daily basis.”
McCrimmon did say the facility will close Jan. 27 and could not provide any additional information about new positive tests within the staff, or the steps ahead. He did say that as long as no new tests from players come back positive, the game for Jan. 28 against the Blues would go on as scheduled. That statement could change, as the coaches have been on ice and around players during practice. As long as the one positive test from the coaches remains at one, and no players test positive now, the team should be okay.