If the amount of Washington fans able buy Game Five tickets off of Vegas fans or the look on Alex Ovechkin’s face is any indication, this Stanley Cup final series is already over. However, the Golden Knights are not going to give up that easy. Underestimated since their inception, the team knows how to fight through adversity and tonight is no different.
To shake things up in an effort to extend the series, head coach Gerard Gallant has made some surprise changes to his lineup. Per beat writer Steve Carp, drawing back in after being a scratch in the last game is veteran winger David Perron. He will be joined by energetic checker William Carrier, who has missed the past ten games due to injury. Yet Tomas Tatar will remain in the lineup for the Knights after filling in for Perron in Game Four. Instead, bottom six contributors Ryan Carpenter and Ryan Reaves will take a seat for what may be the team’s final game of their inaugural season. Here is the projected lineup.
While Perron’s production has slowed in the postseason – no goals and eight assists in fourteen games – he in undeniably an offensive upgrade to Carpenter or Reaves. The 30-year-old winger has 444 points in 722 NHL games, including a career-high 66 points with Vegas this year. If the Knights plan to outscore the Capitals tonight, they will need both Perron and Tatar on the ice. While Carrier may be cold, he is also a pesky defensive presence and a vicious, but clean checker. Carrier brings a different element to the bottom six that Vegas has been lacking and could help to slow down the torrid Caps attack.
Will these moves make a difference? Tune in to a possibly deciding Game Five to find out.