LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill learned two things from his days in youth hockey: breathing and patience.

After dealing with an injury late last season, both mechanisms helped him find his way back into the rotation, where he settled in as the Golden Knights’ No. 1 netminder and helped lead them to a Stanley Cup title.

Once again after dealing with injuries, the same regimen has him back in the lineup and prepared for the home stretch of this season.

“I learned about how important breathing can be when I was a teenager, and I’ve just gotten better at it and implementing it in my game,” said Hill, who is 4-1 with a .932 save percentage and 2.22 goals-against average since returning to the net on Jan. 23. “It just keeps you in the moment, keeps you focused, and (cancels) out all the distractions.

“On and off the ice … being patient, doing the right rehab, and making sure that every day we’re trying to get 2% better or try and progress and stack good days on top of good days.”

So when and where has Hill needed to apply the tools to overcome adversity, considering he’s learned his body hasn’t cooperated or responded at times?

“I think the hardest part of it is just kind of the mental aspect, knowing you’re kind of doing everything right and taking care of your body and it doesn’t always kind of help you out,” Hill said. “Just kind of trying to keep (my) head down and come in every day with a fresh attitude and being around these guys in this locker room has been awesome. They bring that attitude up in here a lot.”

Though Hill has seen limited time in each year with Vegas — playing 27 during the regular season last season and just 20 of the defending champions’ 53 games this season — his impact has been felt when he’s between the pipes.

Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said considering it’s a position that can influence the team more than other positions, he notices his skaters relax a bit more knowing Hill is on the ice.

“And certainly (2022-23 All-Star goalie) Logan (Thompson) does that, too, it’s not a knock on him; it’s just Hilly’s at the top of his game, it’s that simple,” Cassidy said. “He’s just in a zone when he’s in there. It happened in the playoffs last year quite a bit. And it’s happening now. So we do get that effect.”

Spanning the last two seasons, Hill ranks second in the NHL with both a 2.28 goals-against average and .923 save percentage among goaltenders with a minimum 45 starts. Overall, since the Golden Knights joined the league in 2017, he’s been the franchise’s best netminder with the aforementioned numbers, ahead of the likes of Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner.

“I think last year was a prime example of him doing things the right way when he had an injury and putting in the work off the ice to get himself healthy,” said veteran defenseman Alec Martinez, who’s won championships in Los Angeles and Vegas. “Worked really hard, kept his head down and obviously got the opportunity and became really one of the bigger or biggest reasons why we won the Cup last year. I just admire the way that he handles himself and the on-ice stuff speaks for itself.”

Feeling as physically fit and mentally strong as he did during the team’s championship run, Hill said it’s a matter of strengthening what he considers to be his best game in time for the postseason.

“I feel like when I’m on top of my game, call a little bit of swagger … I feel like I just play with a little bit of confidence edge to my game,” he said. “When I’m in there I like to try and infuse confidence in my team.

“They got me, I got them and I think it translates to our play. … It’s all about trying to build your best game for playoffs. You want to be at your best when playoffs come around. And I feel like our team is heading in that direction. I just feel like just having that confidence in ourselves and the team and it’ll translate to the ice.”


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