Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson makes a save against...

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson makes a save against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in Las Vegas. Credit: AP/Ian Maule

LAS VEGAS — Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said he is still trying to figure out how to handle the goalie situation, whether to play both or whether to hand the bulk of the work to one over the other.

And then which one over the other?

Logan Thompson and Adin Hill each have compelling cases to be in the net when Vegas begins its Stanley Cup title defense. There also are equally compelling reasons why one should step aside while the other takes over.

Cassidy has split the starts down the stretch, and Thompson has been the better goaltender of late, but Hill's play in last year's postseason was a major reason the Knights now have a championship banner hanging in T-Mobile Arena.

“I think (Thompson's) mindset is good going into the playoffs," Cassidy said. "He hasn’t played playoff hockey, so that’s another animal. So to say, ‘OK, Logan, you’re going to be the guy,' (but) he’s never played, is that fair to him, especially after what Hilly did last year?

"If we just give it to Hilly and say, ‘OK, have at it,' well, Logan’s played pretty well recently and played more because he’s been healthier. So is that the right way to go? You probably in some way, shape or form will see both guys. That's not because of poor play, either. That just might be the best way to go for where they’re both at right now and how their seasons have gone."

Cassidy added the opponent won't factor much into which 27-year-old starts.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson (36) sprays himself with...

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson (36) sprays himself with water during the third period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday, April 5, 2024, in Tempe, Ariz. Credit: AP/Darryl Webb

Thompson is used to fighting for everything he has accomplished in hockey, taking an unorthodox route to the NHL. In 2021, he became the first goalie from U Sports — Canada's version of the NCAA — to play in the league since 1994.

Thompson made the All-Star Game in 2022-23, his official rookie season, but lower-body injuries forced him out of the lineup for most of the season's second half. He entered this season as the backup, but with Hill's health issues, Thompson has taken advantage to help lead the Knights to the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.

Over his past 11 games, Thompson has allowed a 2.14-goal average with a .926 save percentage. Take away two games in which he allowed a combined 10 goals, his save percentage rises to .949.

“Last year, individually, was frustrating missing the second half of the year and not being able to put the jersey back on,” Thompson said. “So I’m just happy to be in the room and put the jersey on every day and a be part of it.”

Vancouver Canucks' Brock Boeser, (not shown) scores against Vegas Golden...

Vancouver Canucks' Brock Boeser, (not shown) scores against Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson (36) as Golden Knights' Nicolas Hague (14), Canucks' Nils Hoglander (21) and Canucks' Elias Pettersson (40) watch during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monday, April 8, 2024. Credit: AP/ETHAN CAIRNS

Cassidy said some of the credit has to go to the improved defensive play in front of Thompson as well as the fact the Knights are tied for third with fewest penalty minutes per game at 7.4. And, Cassidy said, Thompson is simply motivated to play in his first postseason.

“I think he's under control better maybe than at the start of the year,” Cassidy said. “So that tells me probably his technique is solid.”

Hill was the player the Knights turned to last postseason when Laurent Brossoit was injured in Game 3 of the second-round series against Edmonton. Not only did Hill keep Vegas alive, he went 11-4 with a .932 save percentage and 2.17 goals allowed per game.

His stellar played carried over to this season when Hill went 10-2-2 with a 1.87 GAA and .935 save percentage before suffering a lower-body injury.

He had a similar four-game stretch in January and February, posting 4-0 record with a 1.75 GAA and .947 percentage, but Hill has fought injuries and inconsistent play since then. Going back to Feb. 12, he is 5-9 with a 3.76 GAA and .876 save percentage entering Thursday night's regular-season finale against Anaheim.

“His numbers aren't as good the last ‘x’ amount of games than they were at the start,” Cassidy said. “We can't hide from that. But his game doesn't look bad right now. Pucks are finding their way in, whether it's through some holes or some bounces or whatever. So he just has to stick with it mentally and get through those challenges because we know what he's capable of.”

Hill, who acknowledged his play could be better, said he could draw on the success of last season's playoff experience.

Whether Hill gets another chance to repeat that postseason run or plays more of a secondary role will soon be determined.

“I've never really seen a team rotate goalies in the playoffs, so we'll see,” Hill said. “I'll just take it day by day.”


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