The NHL is host to a total of six games on Friday night. This will begin another exciting weekend of hockey. One of the games will be a Western Conference matchup between the St. Louis Blues and the Vegas Golden Knights. I expect these two teams to play a closely contested matchup on November 16.
St. Louis is coming into Friday night’s matchup with a 6-7-3 record, which has them in seventh place of the Central Division. The Blues have lost two straight games. St. Louis’ matchup against the Golden Knights will be the second game of their three-game road trip. I believe the Blues have a good chance to end their two-game losing streak against Vegas on Friday night.
Vegas has struggled to get things going this season after their magical run last season. The Golden Knights have gone 8-10-1 to start out the new season. Vegas is tied for sixth place of the Pacific Division with the Arizona Coyotes. The Golden Knights ended a two-game losing streak with a 5-0 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
The game between the Blues and Golden Knights on Friday night will be the second matchup in the season series. St. Louis and Vegas will meet one more time on March 25. This game will be the only one hosted in Vegas, so the Golden Knights will look to give their home fans a solid win.
The Blues and Golden Knights met three times last season. In those three games, both St. Louis and Vegas earned four points. The Golden Knights had two overtime wins, while the Blues win came in regulation. Vegas ended up outscoring St. Louis 8-7 in the season series. Each game was pretty low scoring and closely contested.
The first game between St. Louis and Vegas this season was held in St. Louis. The game was on November 1. The Golden Knights were led by Alex Tuch who scored a goal and added an assist. Oskar Sundqvist had two goals for St. Louis, while Tyler Bozak had a goal and an assist. Jake Allen stopped 31 of 34 shots in route to the win for the Blues. St. Louis finished with a 5-3 win at home.
St. Louis has gone 2-0-2 in their four games against Vegas since the Golden Knights became a team last season. The Blues are the only team to win by more than one goal in a game. I expect another close game on Friday night. These two teams have struggled this season, but they both have a roster to turn it around.
The Blues are without Robert Bortuzzo and Erik Foley against the Golden Knights on Friday night. Brayden Schenn could return to the lineup though after missing the previous four games. Schenn would be a huge addition back into the lineup for St. Louis.
Vegas is without Erik Haula, Nate Schmidt and Paul Stastny against the Blues. Haula and Stastny are both out for an extended period with injury. Schmidt will be eligible to return from his twenty-game suspension on Sunday. The Golden Knights could really benefit from getting all these players back.
St. Louis has been doing pretty solid on their solid teams this season. The Blues have scored on the power play 27 percent of the time. St. Louis has stopped their opponent’s on 81 percent of their power play chances. Both the Blues power play and penalty kill are above the league average.
The Golden Knights have not had a lot of success on the power play this season. Vegas has scored on a little less than 17 percent of their power play opportunities. The Golden Knights have stopped other teams on the power play 85 percent of the time.
The Blues power play should have an exciting matchup against the Golden Knights penalty kill. Vegas does not take too many penalties, which will mean St. Louis will need to capitalize when they have the chance if they want to pull off the upset. If the Golden Knights want to get their own power play going, St. Louis is near the middle of the NHL in penalty kill percentage, so Vegas could break through.
I believe Chad Johnson will start in net for the Blues on Friday night. Johnson has quite a bit of time coming in off the bench to relieve a struggling Jake Allen. He has posted a .927 save percentage and a GAA of 2.08. If Johnson can keep these numbers up, I believe he could win over the starting job from Allen.
Marc-Andre Fleury will likely get the start for the Golden Knights. Fleury has posted a record of 8-7-1 in his starts. He has a save percentage of .902 and a 2.51 GAA. Fleury was the backbone that led Vegas to the Stanley Cup last season. If Fleury can get his numbers up a little bit, I believe it could push the Golden Knights back into the top of the standings.
Both of these teams need a win to try and get back into the standings on Friday night. These two teams have played competitive games against each other and I would not be surprised for another close game on Friday night. I believe St. Louis will win this game though. If Brayden Schenn can return, it will give them an extra punch in the lineup. The Blues also have the better special teams, which could give them the edge on Friday night.
BetOnline has Vegas listed at a -158 money line. This implies the Golden Knights will win this game 61 percent of the time. The Blues have a lot of value in this bet because of how close the games between these two teams have been. I like St. Louis to pull off the upset on Friday night.