Golden Knights relish time off before season’s final push

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Jae C. Hong/AP

Vegas Golden Knights’ Mark Stone, Reilly Smith, Shea Theodore, William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault, from left, celebrate a goal by Karlsson during the first period of the team’s NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday, March 1, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif.

Wed, Mar 13, 2019 (2 a.m.)

The Golden Knights are making good use of their break between games as they prep for the final 12 games of the regular season. The first order of business: rest.

The players got Monday off and will also rest Thursday before Friday’s game at Dallas.

“It’s a matter of recharging your batteries and being ready to go for a couple more months,” forward Jonathan Marchessault said. “To spend time with your family, which can be hard when you’re always on the road, it’s definitely good mentally.”

Excluding the break for the All-Star Game and ensuing bye week, this is the longest stretch of the season without games.

The players may need the break, as the rest of the schedule is unforgiving, with only two of their remaining nine March games against teams not in the hunt for a playoff spot.

“It’s a good time to rest, recover, fix up some bumps and bruises you might have,” forward Alex Tuch said. “It’s a good reset mentally, too. We’ll be ready for Dallas on Friday.”

The schedule hasn’t yielded much downtime.

The Golden Knights played six games in the first 10 days of the season and didn’t slow down, going to bed on New Year’s Day with 43 games played, more than any other team in the league. Now the rest of the league is catching up, which means more recovery time for the Golden Knights.

The biggest beneficiary of the rest could be netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started 58 of Vegas’ 70 games. Fleury will have five days of rest — assuming he starts Friday — from his previous outing last Saturday in Vancouver.

Fleury has previously said he feels his best when he plays more often, but conceded a few days without game intensity may be beneficial in preparation for the postseason.

After all, he was the key to the Golden Knights’ playoff run last year, and their hopes may hinge on him again.

“To be able to get a few days rest in between, get a little practice, it’s good,” Fleury said. “I understand it’s toward the end of the season now and having those days is nice to be able to relax, to rest a bit, catch up and be more fresh going down the stretch here.”

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