The NHL is set up for another great day of action on August 6. Five games will be up on the board throughout Thursday. One of these games will be between the Vegas Golden Knights and the St. Louis Blues. These two teams will battle it out in Western Conference Round Robin play. This game will drop the puck at around 6:30 PM Eastern time on NHL Network.
The Golden Knights have earned a record of 39-24-8 throughout the regular season. This earned Vegas the top spot in the Pacific Division. The Golden Knights had won eleven of their last thirteen games before the halt. Vegas earned a strong win in their first game of round robin play. The Golden Knights will look to build off that win on Thursday night.
St. Louis posted a record of 42-19-10 throughout the regular season before the season pause. The Blues had won ten of their last twelve games in the regular season. St. Louis lost a heartbreaker in their first game of round robin play as Colorado scored the game winner with .1 seconds left on the clock. The Blues will look to bounce back with a win on Thursday night.
Vegas will look to earn a big win on Thursday to keep them near the top of the round robin standings. The Blues will look to avoid falling further in the seeding with a loss on Thursday night. These two teams should meet in an exciting matchup to close out round robin play for the day. I expect some intensity to pick up in these teams as the round of sixteen nears.
These teams met up for the first time in the regular season on December 12 in St. Louis. William Carrier and Max Pacioretty both scored for the Golden Knights, but it was not enough. Oskar Sundqvist had a goal and an assist, while nine other players registered a point for the Blues. Jordan Binnington stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced in the 4-2 win.
The second game of the season series shifted back to Vegas on January 4. Ryan O’Reilly had three assists, while David Perron earned a goal and two assists to help St. Louis force overtime. Nicolas Hague had two assists for the Golden Knights. Chandler Stephenson had the game winner in overtime and added an assist in the 5-4 win for Vegas.
The most recent matchup between these two teams was hosted by the Golden Knights on February 13. Zach Sanford had an impressive four goal performance for St. Louis. Mark Stone potted four assists, while Max Pacioretty had two goals and an assist. Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals and Alex Tuch had a goal and an assist as the Golden Knights won another 6-5 thriller in overtime.
These two teams played in three great games throughout the season, with the Golden Knights winning two of the three in overtime. Both teams earned four points in the three games against each other, which should help lead to another barn burner on Thursday night. Both teams are battling for positioning now, which should bump up the intensity even more.
The Golden Knights put up a strong power play throughout this season. Vegas was able to pot 42 goals on 191 power play chances, which is a solid 22 percent power play. The Golden Knights penalty kill was not quite as sharp though. Vegas allowed 50 power play goals on 214 attempts, which is a 76.6 percent kill rate.
St. Louis had a strong power play as well during the regular season. The Blues scored 49 power play goals on 202 opportunities for a 24.3 percent success rate. St. Louis’ penalty kill sat around the league average ono the season. The Blues allowed 42 goals on 203 chances, which is a 79.3 percent penalty kill.
The Blues had the better special teams on the season, which could give them an edge in this matchup. Vegas went 0-2 on the power play in their first game, but allowed a power play goal on their only penalty kill. St. Louis went 1-4 on the power play and stopped four of the five power plays against them. Both teams will look to sharpen up their power play and penalty kill coming into this one.
Marc-Andre Fleury will likely start this matchup after Robin Lehner started in the first game. Fleury went 27-16-5 throughout the regular season. He finished with a save percentage of .905 and a 2.77 GAA. This will be Fleury’s first start since before the break. He will look to come out hot and avoid allowing the Blues to score some early.
I expect Jordan Binnington to earn the start in the crease again for the Blues. Binnington earned a record of 30-13-7 throughout the regular season. He posted a save percentage of .912 and a GAA of 2.56 throughout those starts. Binnington stopped 36 of the 38 shots against him in the first matchup of round robin play. He will look to build off of that coming into this one.
Both goalies are strong starters for their respective team. I have to give the edge to St. Louis in this one though as Binnington is coming off a really good start, while Fleury has not played in a competitive game since March 9. If the Blues can test Fleury early, it will give them a good chance to earn an early lead, which would take some of the stress off in this one.
The Blues are coming off of a heart breaking loss to the Avalanche and I believe that they will use that to fuel them in this one. Vegas earned a nice come from behind win against the Stars, but will need to keep that momentum going. St. Louis has a nice edge on special teams and in net in this one, which could help them earn a win on Thursday night.
BetOnline has Vegas listed as a -107 against the money line in this matchup. This give the Golden Knights a slight edge, implying they will win this game around 51.7 percent of the time. I really like the value in St. Louis to bounce back with a win on Thursday night. As slight underdogs in this matchup, it gives a bit more value to the Blues, making them my pick for the night.