Max Domi’s presence was immediately known when he touched the Budweiser Gardens ice. Sometimes it seems as if he’s playing at a different level than the rest of the players on the ice.
On this night, one man’s work would not be enough to take down a tough opponent.
The Kitchener Rangers proved to be the more complete team as they downed the Knights 4-1 in front of a sellout crowd. The game was closer than the score indicates, as the fourth goal was into an empty net, and the Knights had a bevy of chances but were consistently denied by Rangers goaltender Matt Greenfield, who stood on his head to make 30 saves.
Domi had an assist on Brett Welychka’s first period goal, and added a number of chances using his speed that most Rangers could not keep up with. Welychka knows it’s a big deal to have his pal back in the lineup.
“Max is a good guy and a great player. We’re good buddies off the ice and we have good chemistry. I think it showed in the first period, he gave me a nice feed. Obviously, he’s our best player and he will be this year and we need him to be a leader.”
Knights goalie Michael Giugovas played well but was on the losing end of his first home start, and he sees the difference having Domi back has had in the locker room.
“You can just tell with the crowd every time he touches the puck everyone’s on the edge of their seats. Even everyone is on the edge of the bench every time he touches the puck. I think it’s a big help, big veteran leadership and it will be a good influence on younger guys.”
The Knights clearly have a lot to work on, and they will get a chance at revenge Saturday night in Plymouth: the Whalers spoiled London’s home opener with a 5-0 thrashing of the Knights.