Golden Knights’ Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone skate on their own

Golden Knights' Max Pacioretty (67) skates with the puck alongside Mark Stone (61) during a scr ...

Two key Golden Knights forwards took an important step in their recovery.

Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone skated on their own before practice Tuesday at City National Arena, though coach Pete DeBoer didn’t provide a timeline for their return.

“They’re not reintegrated with our group yet, so that would be the next step on their return to play,” DeBoer said. “They’re not there yet.”

The Knights have 10 games remaining after Wednesday’s matchup against Vancouver at T-Mobile Arena.

Pacioretty appeared set to return March 24 against Nashville after missing seven games with an undisclosed injury, but had a setback and remains on injured reserve.

Despite playing in only 29 games in an injury-riddled season, Pacioretty has 15 goals to rank fifth on the team.

Stone was shut down with a back injury that has been bothering him since last season and went on long-term injured reserve in mid-February, a move that coincided with center Jack Eichel’s return.

Stone has appeared in 28 games, five more than Eichel, who underwent artificial disk replacement surgery in his neck in November.

Before being sidelined, Stone produced eight goals, including two game winners, and 28 points.

As for the Knights’ other injuries, DeBoer said goalie Laurent Brossoit, defenseman Nic Hague, and forwards Brett Howden and Reilly Smith are not close to returning.

“There’s no cavalry coming,” DeBoer said.

Two for the money

Part of the reason the Knights haven’t gained more ground in the standings is the points system used in the NHL.

With three points available in every game (two for a victory, one for an overtime/shootout loss), it’s hard to make up a deficit. For instance, Los Angeles has lost four of its past seven games (3-2-2), but tallied eight points to maintain second place in the Pacific Division.

Would an updated system that awards three points for a regulation victory help? Possibly, though DeBoer likes the parity that’s created from the current way.

”I love the fact that for the most part just about everyone has a chance late into the season, or thinks they have a chance,” DeBoer said. “The problem is closing that gap, is that a mirage? I think if you’re having to hop over three or four teams it probably is. When you only have to catch one team, I think it’s doable.”

New forward

Defenseman Dylan Coghlan took rushes with the fourth line at Tuesday’s practice, an indication the Knights intend to stick with the 11-forward, seven-defenseman lineup they’ve used the past three games.

Coghlan played 3:35 in Sunday’s win over Vancouver and didn’t log more than 8:46 in the two games at Seattle. But DeBoer said he provides insurance on the blue line after Brayden McNabb returned from injury earlier than anticipated and eats some of the power-play minutes to help insulate Alec Martinez.

“It’s not ideal,” DeBoer said. “The way Eichel and (Chandler) Stephenson skate, with (William) Karlsson and (Nicolas) Roy jumping in there every once in a while, we have a group of guys there that can do it short term and with a beneficial schedule, which is what we have right now.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.