Vegas Golden Knights: Pacioretty and Nosek share uncertain status for Game 3

There could be some forced personnel changes for the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3.

This is a big weekend for the Vegas Golden Knights who face a back-to-back against the Chicago Blackhawks in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Currently holding a 2-0 series lead, the Golden Knights could close this one out if they win both Saturday and Sunday.

However, they may have to do just that without both Max Pacioretty and Tomas Nosek who are currently game-time decisions for Game 3 against the Blackhawks on Saturday.

Pacioretty, who missed all three round-robin games, returned for Game 1 but was a dramatic late scratch prior to Game 2.

Deemed “Unfit to Play,” the new hot buzzword in the NHL, Pacioretty’s status remains in question and that should be a major concern for the Golden Knights.

After all, the veteran was Vegas’ leading scorer during the regular-season with 66 points (32 goals, 34 assists), and just missed out on carving out a career-year thanks to COVID-19.

And, to add insult to injury, the Golden Knights also lost Nosek after the bottom-line grinder was forced to leave Game 2 with 3:34 remaining in the second period.

Nosek had actually made it a two-goal game at 15:35 in the first period after carrying the puck in on the rush before burying a wrister under the blocker of Corey Crawford.

But the center was unable to return for the remainder of Game 2 and we await word from Head Coach DeBoer on both Nosek and Pacioretty.

It is unclear as to what the problem is with either player so it is hard to gauge what the worst-case scenario could be, although we should know more soon with Game 3 slated for today.

Tomas Nosek #92 of the Vegas Golden Knights scores at 15:35 of the first period against Corey Crawford #50

Tomas Nosek #92 of the Vegas Golden Knights scores at 15:35 of the first period against Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Two of the Western Conference First Round. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

However, it is possible that the Golden Knights could be forced to call on their Taxi Squad for the very first time if Pacioretty and Nosek both can’t go.

The likes of Patrick Brown, who played in eight postseason games with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2018-19, Gage Quinney and Keegan Kolesar would be logical call-ups due to the roles they play.

Or, the Golden Knights could look to use their trump card by giving an NHL debut to Peyton Krebs and put the stud on the top-line with Mark Stone and William Karlsson.

It would literally be putting the prospect in at the deep end but it would give Stone and Karlsson a potent weapon with elite playmaking ability, while keeping Chandler Stephenson on the third-line and not harming the overall depth of the lineup.

Of course, both Max Pacioretty and Tomas Nosek could be good to go today and the Vegas Golden Knights will be hoping that’s the case as they aim to move a step closer to advancing through to the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.