3. Third-line shows plenty of promise
It is hardly a well-kept secret that one of the biggest bugaboos of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2019-20 was the poor play of their third-line.
No matter the combination they threw out on the ice, it didn’t seem to spark a slumping third-line that offered nothing on most nights.
However, it appears as though Head Coach Peter DeBoer has finally stumbled upon a potential solution to his third-line woes.
Although very early days, the Golden Knights threw out a third-line of Nick Cousins, Alex Tuch and Nicolas Roy against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.
And the trio were easily the best line out on the ice.
Cousins, playing on the left wing, had a goal and two assists and also provided an excellent screen for Reilly Smith’s second goal, rookie center Roy provided two helpers and Tuch had a fine night on the right wing with a goal and an assist.
Again, although a very small sample size, a combined total of seven points from that three will no doubt have pleased DeBoer, who will need secondary scoring from his bottom-six if he is to guide the Golden Knights to Stanley Cup glory this year.
It was especially encouraging to see Tuch so dominant after the winger endured an injury-ravaged 2019-20 regular season.
He used his big frame and his speed to help create Smith’s power play goal at the end of the first period after charging up through the neutral zone, and his speed and vision for his goal was something to behold.
The 24-year-old was all over the ice and finished the game with two points (1 G, 1 A), a plus/minus rating of +2 and 17:07 of total ice time, including plenty of time on the power play.
If Tuch can remain healthy throughout the postseason and continue to build chemistry with Cousins and Roy, then the Vegas Golden Knights may have finally solved their third-line headache if Thursday night is anything to go by.