Pete DeBoer calls Golden Knights ‘too soft’ in front of own net

Pete DeBoer slid the puck into the corner, and the Golden Knights coach watched as three players raced after it and tried to gain possession along the wall.

A few seconds later, incensed by the lack of action, DeBoer halted Wednesday’s practice at City National Arena and briefly lit into his team.

“This is a body-checking drill!” he shouted during his quick, PG-13 lecture. “Get in and separate someone!”

With the Knights stumbling to five losses in their past six games and failing to take advantage of their extended homestand, one area that has particularly bothered DeBoer is the lack of physicality.

That point was driven home to the Knights again before Thursday’s game against Montreal at T-Mobile Arena.

“This isn’t a new thing. This is a constant messaging because come playoff time, as we all know, a lot of games are won in the front of both nets,” DeBoer said. “It’s not a new message because of what happened against Pittsburgh. It’s a message that is constant but sometimes needs reminding.”

The Knights blew a three-goal lead in Monday’s 5-3 home loss to the Penguins, and three of Pittsburgh’s goals in the comeback came from around the crease.

Penguins winger Jake Guentzel stuffed in a third-period wraparound for the winner before Mattias Janmark could arrive on the scene for the Knights. Jason Zucker scored the first of his two goals during a goalmouth scramble on a power play in…

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