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Golden Knights’ Eichel leaves game with lower-body injury, status unclear

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The Vegas Golden Knights opened Saturday’s game in Detroit in familiar fashion – with a goal from Jack Eichel – but closed out the victory without their leading scorer after Eichel left the game with an apparent lower-body injury.

The nature, cause, and severity of the injury is unclear. Video of his final shift of the game, which came five minutes into the third period of the eventual 4-1 Golden Knights win, shows Eichel skating along the boards of Vegas’ zone before pivoting near the blue line and skating back into the fray. That’s when he began to favour his left leg, putting little weight on it as he finished his shift and returned to Vegas’ bench. There did not appear to be any obvious contact that caused the injury. He went straight to the locker room, and did not return.

Asked after the game about Eichel’s status, Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy did not have an update, saying he is being evaluated. The club’s next game comes Monday against Cassidy’s old team, the Bruins, in Eichel’s old college hockey town of Boston, and it’s not yet known if Eichel will be able to play.

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“If there’s one guy that wants to play in Boston on Monday, it’s Jack,” Cassidy told reporters Saturday night, via Ben Gotz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

After missing most of the 2021-22 campaign following neck surgery, Eichel’s first full season in Vegas has been off to a very successful start. He leads the team in goals (13) and points (29) and sits second in assists (16) through 26 games for the 18-7-1 club, which currently sits atop the Pacific Division.

He made his Golden Knights debut last February following nearly a year sidelined. In 34 games with Vegas last season, he registered 14 goals and 25 points.

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