After a four-day bye week, the Vegas Golden Knights returned to a jam-packed, standing room only City National Arena. The Western Conference leaders said they’re ready and refreshed for the second half of the season.
"Not going to sneak up on anyone anymore, I think that's the big key to what happens in the second half," said defenseman, Nate Schmidt. "Play the right way, play hard, we come in and do the right things, block shots if you do that, continue our recipe, then we're going to be successful."
Friday night, Head Coach Gerard Gallant held one of the longest practices of the season, two 30-minute sessions to get his team focused and ready for the final 41 regular season games.
"I like what I've seen, guys come back, they're professionals they had their fun for three or four days and then they come back and were ready to practice, they worked hard and it was good to see them all back and skating hard and like I said I liked the practice," said head coach Gerard Gallant.
During the break, some stayed home with family, while others used it as a bonding opportunity away from the rink and on the beaches of Cabo.
"Made lifelong friends honestly, three, four months into the season, time of my life right now," said forward Alex Tuch.
"Trade the skates for some flip-flops, it feels great, block a couple of shots the last couple of weeks, come back and they're gone, body feels good," said Schmidt.
Also during the break, the NHL announced the All-Star teams. Vegas will be sending three of their own to Tampa, including Gerard Gallant, James Neal, and Marc-Andre Fleury.
"It's a nice feeling to be able to represent our team for the first time, it's an honor and try (to) do good things," said All-Star, Marc-Andre Fleury.
The vacations were fun, the accolades are great, but coaches and players alike say their sole focus now, is to finish what they started.
"The focus is the next game and grabbing those two points, playing the way, we can and playing as a team, that's where our strength comes from, just the work ethic we've shown night after night," Fleury said.
"You feel good, we had a great first half, everyone knows that, but first half means nothing if you don't pick it up in the second half and go to the ultimate goal," Gallant said.
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