The Vegas Golden Knights have been one of the NHL's best teams all season, but they've hit a bit of a rough patch of late and are currently riding a three-game losing streak. The Golden Knights have watched the surging Seattle Kraken take the lead in the Pacific Division as a result.
Injuries have been a factor, as Vegas is missing a number of regulars from its lineup, including captain Mark Stone, who is second on the team with 38 points this season. With several key contributors sidelined, other players need to step up.
One player who hasn't been been able to pick up the slack is star forward Jack Eichel, who had a hot start to the season but has not looked the same since returning from an 11-game absence of his own on Jan. 6. The 26-year-old has just two goals since being activated from injured reserve (lower-body injury) and hasn't scored during the Golden Knights' current skid while posting a minus-4 rating.
That performance has left head coach Bruce Cassidy looking for more.
"Jack just hasn't been the same driving force for us as he was at the start of the year on both ends of the ice," Cassidy told reporters after Thursday's loss to the Detroit Red Wings. "The expectations are not being met from Jack. He needs to be better for us especially as we're down a few guys that create offense for us. He needs to be one of the drivers."
🎥 Cassidy: I think we've had passengers lately, guys that we rely on that need to be better. pic.twitter.com/UQFSTGJJnX
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 20, 2023
Eichel is in his second season with the Golden Knights since being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in a blockbuster deal in 2021. The three-time All-Star averaged less than a point per game last season once he returned from a major neck injury but has been better in 2022-23, with 15 goals and 19 assists in 33 games so far.
Vegas's next opportunity to get back in the win column comes Saturday night against the Washington Capitals as the team wraps up what has been a disappointing seven-game homestand.
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