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William Carrier out indefinitely with lower-body injury

William Carrier is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury, the Vegas Golden Knights announced Saturday.

“Tougher news than we were hoping for,” Bruce Cassidy said.

Carrier sustained the injury at the tail end of the first period Friday night against New Jersey; he did not return and played just 5:08.

The news is a tough blow for a Golden Knights team that has been playing exceptionally well, going 8-1-2 in its last 11. Carrier has been a key part of that.

The 28-year-old is in the midst of a career season with 16 goals and 25 points in 56 games and had seven points in 10 games ahead of Friday’s contest. Carrier is fifth on the team in goals — nearly doubling his previous career high of nine — and leads the club in game-winning goals with seven.

Significantly, Carrier has been part of a new-look third line that has been excellent for the Golden Knights. In 10 games since the All-Star break, the trio of Carrier, Chandler Stephenson and Phil Kessel held a 55.68 percent shot share, 83.33 percent goal share (5-1), 61.93 percent expected goal share, 53.85 percent scoring chance share and 64.52 percent high-danger Corsi share in 93:03.

The timing of the injury is particularly unlucky as it occurred just hours after the trade deadline.

Though the Golden Knights acquired forwards Ivan Barbashev from St. Louis and Teddy Blueger from Pittsburgh, they reportedly had interest in Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk but did not make a move for the 33-year-old power-play specialist, who also plays left wing.

In Carrier’s stead, Paul Cotter is expected re-enter the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch in Friday’s 4-3 shootout win against the New Jersey Devils.

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The Golden Knights are back in action Sunday afternoon as they wrap up a three-game homestand against the Montreal Canadiens.

Cassidy said Barbashev took a maintenance day on Saturday but should be ready to go against Montreal. Jonathan Quick is expected to make his Golden Knights debut in Sunday’s contest.