WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The Vegas Golden Knights were surprise buyers at this year’s trade deadline, and ended up with one expensive acquisition: forward Tomas Tatar from the Detroit Red Wings. The price? A first-round pick (2018), a second-round pick (2019) and a third-rounder (2021).
As most Golden Knights flourished when given a bigger opportunity for the expansion team, Tatar was the exception — until Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
After being scratched in seven of Vegas’ first 11 playoff games, the 27-year-old Slovakian was reinserted into the lineup for Game 2. He scored the Golden Knights’ first goal at 13:23 in the first period en route to a 3-1 road win over the Winnipeg Jets to even the series at 1-1. It was Tatar’s first point of the postseason.
“It’s just beating you up when you have to [sit] and some stuff doesn’t go our way,” Tatar said after Monday’s win. “But you have to respect it. We are here all for one goal and we want to win the Cup and we are doing everything for it. If that was the choice, you just have to do everything and be a good teammate.”
Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said Perron wasn’t feeling well. When asked if Perron will play in Game 3, Gallant said: “I’m sure he will. He’ll be fine.”
Tatar, 27, is no rental: His contract runs through the 2020 season, with a $5.3 million cap hit.
In 20 regular-season games with Vegas, Tatar had just four goals, two assists and a minus-11 rating. Prior to Monday, he had played in only four playoff games for the Golden Knights, with his last appearance coming in a May 2 loss to the San Jose Sharks in the second round.
“I tried to drop everything and just play my game,” Tatar said. “Play the hockey what I did before.”
Game 3 is Wednesday night in Las Vegas.