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‘Nothing is going to change for us’ - P.E.I. native looks ahead to NHL playoffs

Gerard Gallant is the head coach of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. Associated Press photo
Gerard Gallant is the head coach of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights. Associated Press photo

It’s status quo for the Vegas Golden Knights in the post-season.

With the Golden Knights now two games into their first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs, head coach Gerard (Turk) Gallant says it’s business as usual for the expansion franchise. While some teams opt to stay at hotels for home games to avoid distractions, Gallant said the Golden Knights, who won the series opener against the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 and hosted Game 2 late Friday night, will maintain the same routines they followed during the regular season.

“We just want to play the best hockey we can play, and give ourselves a chance to win,” said Gallant. “Nothing is going to change for us. It’s been a great season so far, we just want to keep it going.”

Gallant did acknowledge the playoffs “will be a little bit more intense” and there will be extra pressure.

For the most part we are going to do what we did all season out there, take the pressure off our players, just go out there, play and see what happens,” said Gallant, who added the Golden Knights were close to having everyone available for the playoffs, in a phone interview with the Journal Pioneer during the final weekend of the regular season.

“We feel real good,” said Gallant, a strong supporter of the Summerside Boys and Girls Club. “We are almost back to having everyone healthy.

“We’ve had quite a few players out for quite a while here. We are not 100 per cent healthy, but it’s getting pretty close and I really that.


Gerard (Turk) Gallant’s NHL playing career:

Regular Season

  • 615 games with Detroit and Tampa Bay.
  • 211 goals.
  • 269 assists.
  • 480 points.
  • 1,674 penalty minutes. 

Playoffs

  • 58 games with Detroit.
  • 18 goals.
  • 21 assists.
  • 39 points.
  • 178 penalty minutes.

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Playoff experience

Although this will be the Golden Knights’ first post-season appearance as a team, Gallant notes there are players who have valuable NHL playoff experience, including No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

“Obviously, Fleury won three Cups with Pittsburgh and they had a great run,” said Gallant. “James Neal was in the final, and we have guys who have won Stanley Cups.

“There are a lot of good players and experience there. We are a veteran team.”

The Golden Knights have also been a hit off the ice. The team has averaged 18,042 fans a game in the regular season while playing to 103.9 per cent capacity at the T-Mobile Arena. Team merchandise is also very popular amongst fans across North America.

“Every game down there is like a playoff game,” said Gallant in describing the atmosphere at Golden Knights’ home games. “The fans are on the edge of their seats, they are cheering the whole time.

“The only thing I can compare it to is when I was in Montreal in the playoffs four or five years ago, when we had those good runs for a couple of years when I was an assistant coach. The crowd was unbelievable behind that team.

“This is what we see every night in Vegas. They are loud, they cheer and every time we score the first goal of the game they just don’t sit down. It’s been really fun, and it’s been really important for our group.”

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Gerard (Turk) Gallant’s NHL coaching resumé:

Regular Season

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • 2003-04 – 16-24-4-1 (won-lost-ties-overtime losses).
  • 2005-06 – 35-43-4 (won-lost-overtime losses).
  • 2006-07 – 5-9-1.

Florida Panthers

  • 2014-15 – 38-29-15.
  • 2015-16 – 47-26-9.
  • 2016-17 – 11-10-1.

Vegas Golden Knights

  • 2017-18 – 51-24-7.

Career

  • 410 games.
  • 203 wins.
  • 165 losses.
  • 4 ties.
  • 38 overtime losses.

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