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Golden Knights return home to face Flyers

LAS VEGAS -- With the best record in the Western Conference and a double-digit points lead in the Pacific Division, the Vegas Golden Knights begin a seven-game homestand Sunday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Considering how well the Golden Knights have played at home (19-3-2), would another successful homestand result in head coach Gerard Gallant perhaps lifting his ban on the use of the word "playoffs" in his locker room?

Don't bet on it.

"Again, I keep telling you guys, it's one game at a time," Gallant said after his team's workout Saturday morning. "I think if you look at it as one game at a time it really helps our group."

The Golden Knights (36-14-4) come in off a six-game, 10-day, 5,877-mile grinder of a road trip that began in Calgary and finished in San Jose with stops in Winnipeg, Saint Paul, Washington and Pittsburgh.

"We had a tough trip. It was a battle," Gallant said. "To come home 4-2 and with eight points after that road trip, I'm really proud of the guys and the way they competed against really good teams every night. It was a very positive road trip for us."

And exhausting.

Fortunately, there was a two-day break in the schedule after the team returned to Las Vegas early Friday morning following a 5-3 victory over the Sharks, scoring three unanswered goals in the third period to pull out the win.

"It takes its toll," right wing Alex Tuch said. "It's a lot of travel. Once you get home you just kind of sink into the couch and you don't ever want to get up."

Tuch won't get any sympathy from the Flyers (27-19-9) who will be facing a 23-hour turnaround after pulling out a 4-3 shootout victory at Arizona on Saturday night that moved them into third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Nolan Patrick scored the game-winner in the seventh round with a shot over the glove of Antti Raanta but the real story occurred in goal for the Flyers. Starter Brian Elliott, who has 21 wins this season and had been on a hot streak lately, left the game in the second round of the shootout with a lower-body injury while attempting to stop a Clayton Keller shot that clanged off the post.

Michal Neuvirth replaced Elliott and made NHL history by becoming the first goalie to enter a game during a shootout and earn a win. He faced five shots and will start Sunday's game after the team announced Elliott would be re-evaluated when they return home following the Vegas game.

"Unbelievable job by Neuvy to come in cold and make some big stops," Patrick told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "A lot of credit goes to him."

Marc-Andre Fleury will start for the Golden Knights, who also had to detail with a goaltender injury Saturday. Backup Malcolm Subban, who suffered an upper body injury in the morning skate at San Jose on Thursday, was placed on injured reserve. The team recalled Maxime Lagace from the AHL Chicago Wolves to take Subban's spot. Lagace has a 6-6-1 record and 3.79 goals-against in 13 starts for Vegas.

Updated February 11, 2018

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