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Marchessault: Knights 'gotta start playing like' we want playoffs

Norm Hall / National Hockey League / Getty

The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner thinks the defending Stanley Cup champions need to start getting their act together if they want to be playing hockey in the spring.

"We got to take care of business," Jonathan Marchessault said following the Vegas Golden Knights' 5-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday. "We're not in the playoffs yet. We gotta start playing like we want to be in it.

"We need more than just a couple guys every night. We're going to need everybody, and right now, we don't have that."

The Golden Knights have now dropped three games in a row and only hold a three-point cushion over the St. Louis Blues for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, though Vegas has a game in hand.

It's been tough sledding for Sin City as of late. The team has had to deal with the absences of key players, such as goaltender Adin Hill, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, and captain Mark Stone.

Hill returned from his seven-game layoff on Wednesday, but it was a rough outing for the netminder. He allowed five goals on 25 shots while surrendering 1.4 goals above expected at five-on-five, per Natural Stat Trick.

The Golden Knights mustered just 18 shots of their own and had 16 giveaways.

Since the calendar flipped to 2024, Vegas ranks 22nd in the league with a 20-18-3 record and 19th with a .524 points percentage. Before Jan. 1, the Golden Knights were battling the Vancouver Canucks for first place in the Pacific Division.

"Right now, for us, our game's not where we need to be," said Keegan Kolesar, who scored Vegas' only goal versus Edmonton. "Even if we were to get in, it might be a quick bounce for us out of there."

The Oilers, meanwhile, were able to put together a strong performance against their heated rivals without superstar captain Connor McDavid.

"We've got a lot of guys off our roster that aren't playing, as well, so that to me, is irrelevant," Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy said of McDavid's absence.

The bench boss added: "Even if he was playing, I wouldn't have expected this result, to be perfectly honest with you."

Marchessault scored 13 goals and 25 points in 22 playoff games last spring while helping the Golden Knights win their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.

The 33-year-old is following up that performance with a strong 2023-24 campaign. He's racked up a career-high 41 goals in 78 contests and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

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