Dylan Ferguson’s storybook start at Rogers Arena was a non-starter.
When Vegas Golden Knights coach www.groyse.com/james-neal-c-1_19.html Gerard Gallant announced after his team’s Thursday morning skate that Maxime Lagace was fit and would get the call in goal against the Vancouver Canucks in the evening, there were a couple of sighs of disappointment from media members.
Ferguson receiving the nod would have made for a story that would have written itself. The 19-year-old is an emergency call-up from the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. He’s also a Lantzville native and Nanaimo minor hockey product.
He’s been with the big club since Oct. 31, when Oscar Dansk (lower body injury) became the third Vegas netminder to head to infirmary, following Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) and Malcolm Subban (lower body). Ferguson made his NHL debut Tuesday, coming in for the final nine minutes against the Edmonton Oilers after Lagace was forced to leave with an injury.
Ferguson gave up a goal on two shots in an 8-2 Edmonton victory.
Lagace, it seems, is fine enough to play now. Gallant denied any thought to starting Ferguson against the Canucks.
“We wanted to make sure Max was OK,” said Gallant. “The other night we took him out late because he had some lower body cramps. He had a good practice yesterday and Max has played real well for us, giving us a chance to win.”
Subban is back skating with the Golden Knights and could seemingly be ready to play again soon, which would ship Ferguson back to Kamloops. He’ll remain the Vegas backup until then.
Gallant, of course, said Ferguson is better for the experience.
“He was all smiles, even after a tough loss,” Gallant said of Ferguson’s demeanour following the Edmonton game. “The kid was excited, He got into an NHL game.
“He’s been here for 2½ weeks, facing NHL shooters. That’s going to help him down the road.”
• Vancouver coach Travis Green didn’t mince words when he announced Thursday that winger Jake Virtanen would be a healthy scratch for a third consecutive game.
There was good buzz around Virtanen, 21, coming out of training camp, and he drew rave reviews earlier in the campaign in particular for his play alongside Henrik and Daniel Sedin. His last four games, though, have featured outings of just 6:19 and 7:19 minutes, respectively.
“I want to get him back in there, but part of development is understanding that sometimes you have to wait for your chance and I think this is one of those times,” said Green. “I’m not going to put Jake in just for the betterment of Jake.
“There’s a fine line between doing what’s right for an individual and doing what’s right for the team and there’s something to be said www.hdyapim.com/connor-murphy-jersey-c-1_50.html about lessons and learning them.”
• Vegas forward Brendan Leipsic and Vancouver defenceman Derrick Pouliot were roommates for a time with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. They’ve stayed in close contacts through the years, Leipsic said.
Pouliot was the eighth overall draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2012 and was the CHL defenceman of the year in 2013-14. He had trouble catching on with the Penguins and was traded to Vancouver earlier this year. He’s seemed to fit in with the Canucks of late.
Green was part of the coaching staffs with those Winterhawk teams, too.
“Junior hockey went really well for a lot of us in Portland and it’s a jump (to the NHL),” said Leipsic, who was claimed in the expansion draft by the Golden Knights from the Toronto Maple Leafs, who had landed him in a Feb. 15, 2015 trade with the Nashville Predators.
“You might not get your opportunity right away. You might not take advantage of it. There’s a lot of variables. I’ve been grinding it out myself.
“It looks he’s found a home in Vancouver and he’s been playing well. I’m happy for him.”
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