This loss to the St. Louis Blues is a hard one to blame on the goaltender. Marc-Andre Fleury had a .949 save percentage, and the Vegas Golden Knights killed off both power play opportunities with his help. Carter Hutton, however, was the superior goaltender, helping the Blues defeat Vegas by a score of 2-1.
It felt like this was destined to be the end of the winning streak as soon as the Golden Knights couldn't get anything going in the first period. The Knights stole back possession for the second period but lost it again in the third. During their brief possession peak, all the Knights got was one goal, from Erik Haula.
This game showed how to beat the Knights — take away vertical passing lanes and zone entries. Gerard Gallant now has to adjust, and hopefully this loss can serve as a learning experience.
Paul Stastny got the game-winning goal for the Blues, with Alexander Steen opening the scoring. Both broke long scoring droughts with their goals.
Again, it's hard to blame Fleury, who was on fire for much of the game. The offense just has to come back hot against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Steen's goal came off a basketball play:
Alex Steen opens the scoring. Blues up 1-0. pic.twitter.com/rCKM4UkXOK— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 5, 2018
That's a moving pick and roll. Brayden Schenn drives in between Shea Theodore and Steen, who Theo's defending, and that gives Steen the room he needs to get the shot off. Maybe Fleury can't see because of the partial screen by Kyle Brodziak, but nonetheless, it's a goal.
Fleury was defending everything else. The Blues really had that one great play and possession but were largely not doing anything with it. Both teams had the same amount of shots in the first period.
As well as in the second, though the Golden Knights took back possession, and got to play their game for a while. That led to the single goal on the night for Vegas:
Hey, at least the Knights weren't shut out. David Perron and James Neal smartly draw Blues defenders to the side, opening the middle for Haula, who's wide open. That's number 15 on the season. He's going to set his career record this season (he tied it with that goal), in all likelihood.
And then, in the third, the weirdest game-winning goal.
Every Knights' player gives up on this play. The Knights think the puck is under Fleury, and so does he. The Blues don't, and the ref can see the puck, so there's no reason to stop play. That's why teams should always play to the whistle. That's a lesson the Knights hopefully learned.
Oh well, at least it's not like the Knights had a prime chance to change the game earlier.
Marchy had a WIDE open net to shoot at. pic.twitter.com/jRHjHvvrvd— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) January 5, 2018
Yeah, that's going to haunt Jonathan Marchessault.
Again, it's hard to blame Fleury, who was on fire for much of the game. The offense just has to come back hot against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Knights need to take one game of this back-to-back.