Golden Knights look to solve home ice issues with captain Mark Stone on COVID protocol

mark stone golden knights
Jan 11, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone (61) calls for a pass during the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

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Home hasn’t been very sweet this season for the Vegas Golden Knights, who close out an eight-game homestand on Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Golden Knights have won just one of their past six games in Las Vegas (1-3-2) and come in off a 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night that saw them squander a 3-0 lead.

Vegas, which leads the Pacific Division with 48 points, is just 12-10-2 on home ice. Only Arizona (13) and the expansion Seattle Kraken (12) have more home losses in the Western Conference entering play on Wednesday.

Home ice issues for Vegas

The 10 home losses match the total for the entire season that the Golden Knights had in their storybook expansion season in 2017-18. The joke making the rounds at the time was visiting teams were catching the “Vegas Flu” and perhaps spending a little too much time around the pool or in casinos.

But after allowing five unanswered goals to a Pittsburgh team that was finishing a tough six-game road trip, the Vegas players likely were feeling ill.

“You never want to get waxed in your own building like that,” captain Mark Stone said. “Leading 3-0 after the first period, you can’t walk away from the game with nothing. We’ve got a little soul searching to do.”

Vegas started the home stretch with a 3-1 victory over Anaheim on New Year’s Eve but then followed that up with a 5-4 overtime loss to Winnipeg and a 3-2 loss to Nashville. The Golden Knights answered a 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers with a 2-1 loss to Chicago and a 4-3 shootout loss to Toronto before Monday night’s debacle.

Mark Stone on COVID list

mark stone covid
Jan 6, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone (61) celebrates after scoring a second period goal against the New York Rangers at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone was placed into COVID protocol and will miss tonight’s game against the Habs.

“Stone is in COVID protocol, so he’s out,” coach Pete DeBoer said.

Stone has 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) in 23 games this season. He recorded an assist in Monday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Vegas blueliner Nic Hague joins Stone in the protocol as he continues to recover from a wrist injury.

Vegas assistant coach Ryan Craig is out of protocol.

Stone missed time earlier this season with a lower-body injury.

The good news for the Knights is that winger Max Pacioretty (wrist surgery) is expected to join the team on its upcoming road trip. Defenseman Alec Martinez is also expected to be cleared to play next week.

The Knights begin a four-game road trip Monday at Washington.

–Field Level Media