The Vegas Golden Knights are on the road for a Thursday night date with the Blues in St. Louis. They’re on a tough back-to-back with an appearance in Dallas tomorrow night against night against the Stars. Gerard Gallant will likely go with Marc-Andre Fleury against the Blues and Malcolm Subban in Dallas. Fleury made his return to the crease with a dominant performance against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. He was less than 30 seconds away from recording a shutout before Dominik Kubalik found a goal from the top of the circle to make it a 5-1 game. It was a quiet night before halfway in the 2nd period when the Golden Knights put a goal on the scoreboard and then didn’t let up.
Corey Crawford was left out to dry, as he made several key saves despite allowing 5 goals. He kept the Blackhawks in the game until no one gave him a hand, which included a shorthanded goal for the Golden Knights. Fleury was predictably strong in his first game back since his dad passed away. He really wanted that shutout, though, and was beating himself up for allowing the late goal to make it 5-1. You could tell that the team played really hard for him. They wanted the win badly and kept pressure on the Blackhawks all night. It’s one of the best all-around efforts we’ve seen out of the Golden Knights in 2019-20 so far. Their next two outings will not get any easier, though.
The Golden Knights are a 16-12-5 team with 37 points heading into St. Louis. With the Oilers and Coyotes tied for the lead in the Pacific, the Knights can inch closer tonight. The Coyotes are playing host to the Blackhawks while the Oilers are in Minnesota. Like I’ve said, the Pacific Division is wide open and going to be there for the taking all season. I don’t expect anyone to run away with it. Despite a so-so start to the season, the Golden Knights are only 3 points behind for the lead in the division so not bad for a team that hasn’t really hit their stride yet.
If they come out with the motivation they did against the Blackhawks the other night then the playoffs will easily be in their future. It would make it three playoff appearances in three years for the Golden Knights who’ve only been in the NHL for three years. In 2021, the Golden Knights will no longer be the newest team in the league. That’s when Seattle will begin their foray into the NHL. Don’t expect a repeat of what Vegas did in their first season, though. The Golden Knights hope to get back to where they were two seasons ago and where the Blues were last season. St. Louis were able to complete the deal with a Stanley Cup and are playing a lot better at this point in the year than they were last season. The Blues enter tonight with a record of 18-8-6 with the Avalanche close on their tails in the Central. Head below for our free Golden Knights vs. Blues pick.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. St. Louis Blues Betting Odds:
Golden Knights vs. Blues Prediction:
The Blues are coming off a 5-2 loss against the Buffalo Sabres. They looked disinterested in that one, as the Sabres handed the Blues their third straight loss. The Blues also have recent losses against the Penguins and Maple Leafs, so there hasn’t been much to like of late in St. Louis. They were on a four-game winning streak prior to the poor performances. Two of three losses were on the road, with the other against the Maple Leafs in St. Louis. They do hold an advantage over the Golden Knights, though, in their most recent tilts. Note that the Blues are winners in three straight over the Golden Knights with wins of 3-1, 4-1, and 5-3.
The Golden Knights and Blues have matched up six times in their history. St. Louis has the edge with four wins in six games, and the two wins that the Knights had were in overtime. The one game wasn’t even close in terms of competitiveness, as the Blues outshot Vegas 49 to 22 but still fell in overtime. That’s the way it goes with hockey sometimes. You get a hot goaltender and there isn’t much that can be done despite a productive effort. Jordan Binnington has been doing a solid job in his first full season in the league. His promotion to the NHL sparked the Blues’ run to the Stanley Cup last season.
Binnington heads into Thursday with a 2.45 GAA and 0.921 save percentage in 23 games. He’s made one start against the Golden Knights and was sharp with 1 goal against on 25 shots for a 0.96 save percentage. His effort has been stout at home, posting a 2.25 GAA and 0.925 save percentage in 14 games. Vegas have been mediocre on the road this season with a record of 8-6-3. They’ve been average on both ends of the ice, having scored 2.69 goals per game and allowed 2.69 goals against per game. In their last ten games, they have been in that ballpark with 2.5 goals scored per game and 2.7 goals against.
It was an emotional return for Fleury to the crease on Tuesday. I think that carried over to the other players and they gave it their all for him. He was seconds away from the shutout, but the team still lifted him with 5 goals. I think the narrative is going to change slightly in St. Louis. They’re going to have to deal with a hungry Blues team who’ve been playing a sloppy game of hockey recently. As short favorites at home, expect the Blues to hold their own to edge the Golden Knights out by a score of 3-2 or 4-2.