The Golden Knights’ goaltending saga is expected to take its latest twist Sunday.
Jiri Patera is in line to make his NHL debut at 4 p.m. against the St. Louis Blues. Coach Bruce Cassidy said Saturday morning the 24-year-old rookie would probably get the nod with Jonathan Quick starting against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
Patera, a 2017 sixth-round pick, would be the fifth goaltender to start for the Knights this season. That would set a franchise record and tie Ottawa for the most starters used by an NHL team this season.
Patera is with the big club after a rash of injuries that have affected the Knights’ crease. Robin Lehner is out for the season with a hip injury that required surgery. Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit are on injured reserve with lower-body injuries. Adin Hill left the team’s current road trip with a lower-body injury, which is why Patera was called up from Henderson.
Patera is having a strong season for the Silver Knights. He is 12-13-1 with a .916 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average. Brossoit, playing behind the same team, was 8-11-3 with a .909 save percentage and 2.72 GAA.
The Golden Knights should give Patera a chance to win with how well they’ve been playing. They’ve won five of their past six games and are 2-1 on the road trip with two stops remaining.
The Blues aren’t the worst opponent for Patera to face. St. Louis is on track to miss the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. That led to the Blues moving several key players, such as captain Ryan O’Reilly and right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, before the NHL’s trade deadline, including new Knights left wing Ivan Barbashev.
Sunday will be Barbashev’s first game in St. Louis since he was dealt Feb. 26. He spent seven seasons with the Blues after being drafted by the team in the second round in 2014. He was part of St. Louis’ first Stanley Cup-winning team in 2019.
Barbashev has five points in seven games with the Knights.
Lineup information was not immediately available. Neither team held a morning skate because both sides are playing for the second time in two days.
Knights at Blues (4 p.m.)
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: KKGK (98.9 FM, 1340 AM)
Line: Knights -146; total 6½
Knights record: 40-20-6
Blues record: 29-31-5
Head-to-head: Knights 1-1-0