Maybe Max Pacioretty should save some of this for when the games count beginning Oct. 2.
The veteran left wing was in midseason form Sunday in notching a hat trick in the Vegas Golden Knights’ 6-2 win over Arizona as the NHL preseason kicked off. Pacioretty also had an assist on Cody Eakin’s second-period goal.
“Yeah, it was good to start out strong,” Pacioretty said of his four-point performance. “I thought we played with good energy.”
Though the hat trick was nice and appreciated by the crowd of 17,767 at T-Mobile Arena, Pacioretty’s playing alongside rookie Cody Glass was a more critical element. Coach Gerard Gallant flanked Glass with Pacioretty and another veteran, Reilly Smith as the Knights’ top line. The team wants to take a long, hard look at Glass, the Knights’ top draft pick in 2017 and the No. 6 selection overall.
“He was awesome,” Pacioretty said of Glass, who had an assist on the hat trick goal and played 15 solid minutes. “He’s put on some weight and he’s such a poised player. He’s got that hockey sense that you can’t teach.”
As for his performance Sunday, Glass appeared a tad tentative early on, which is understandable. But with two veterans alongside, he quickly settled in, looked for his linemates while being responsible at the defensive end of the ice.
“It was a little nerve-wracking at first but they’re two really good players and they’ll find you with the puck,” Glass said. “I was just trying to be in the right spot.”
Mind you, Glass has been here before. He played in the NHL preseason with Vegas the last two years before heading back to juniors. He finished last season in the AHL with Chicago and now it’s a question of whether the Knights think he’s ready for the NHL.
Pacioretty? We know he’ll be in the lineup opening night against San Jose. We also know he is capable of putting up big offensive numbers. But he’ll likely remain with Paul Stastny and Mark Stone, neither of whom played Sunday.
You can expect to see Glass in most, if not all the remaining six preseason games and playing with different linemates. There’s a spot for him on the roster, if he proves he’s good enough to earn it.
“I think I have more confidence in myself,” Glass said. “I feel more comfortable with the way things happen at the (NHL) level. I’m just going to try and take advantage of the opportunity.”