Jacques Eichel puts injury behind to spark Golden Knights attack

Of all the indications that the position of the Golden Knights is starting to feel like himself again, Jacques Eichel stands out the most.

“He takes the confrontations,” said coach Pete Debore.

Eichel suffered a hand injury for over a week, which prevented him from performing his confrontation duties. It also limited what he could do by pinching his stick.

But based on his two-game sweepstakes performance in Seattle, Eichel is near full strength when you need it most. After starting his first multiplayer game over two years ago, the Eichel and the Knights opened the Home and Home series on Sunday against Vancouver at Rogers Arena.

“He’s been playing there for two weeks and he hasn’t been in full health or strength. He’s starting to get that back, which makes the difference to his scoring,” Debort said on Friday.

Eichel underwent surgery to replace a prosthetic disc in November after getting it in a business deal with Buffalo and had been scraping off rink rust for nearly a year when he was shot in the right hand by Florida defenseman MacKenzie Wigar on March 17.

He was not left out of the squad, but Eichel was forced to cede responsibility in confrontations to his teammates for the next four matches. And despite their total productive shots, they didn’t have the same oomph behind them.

But starting with last Saturday’s overtime win over Chicago, Eshel was able to stand up and followed by offensive production as he scored during the comeback in the third inning.

In Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Seattle, Eshel finished with five shots on target and won three of his four encounters. Besides Friday’s two goals, he had seven shot attempts and went 5-9 in a 22:04 tie of ice time, the highest level of the season.

“We sat and looked at some tape on the day off. He could have played two or three matches (on Wednesday) as well,” Debor said. It works for good looks. He’s playing a good game at 200 feet for us. Now they go. ”

The Knights lacked offensive punches with Max Pasuritti, Riley Smith and Mark Stone all injured, and Eshel needed to look for his shot more often rather than trying to make it for others. The score was four goals and five points in his past four games, all victories.

Eshel’s nine goals have topped the Knights since his debut on February 16, scoring 34 goals over an entire season. His 16 points in 22 games during the same period came second to Jonathan Marchesault (22 points in 20 games).

DeBoer said he gave Eichel the freedom to take chances in the attack zone at the risk of getting too deep as long as he checked it hard.

Eshel and Lynmat Evgeny Dadonov made up for their defensive shortcomings together and began developing chemistry in first grade.

“He’s clearly a real creative player,” Eshel said on Friday. “He can generate a lot with the puck puck and (Chandler Stevenson) brings another cool element with his speed and ability to skate around players and protect and hold the puck. We had a lot of chances and it was nice to see some of them come in.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow Tweet embed on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: