In a game that featured a combined 11 goals, Jonathan Marchessault scored the most significant one as he netted his 20th of the season 2:30 into overtime.
The goal, Marchessault’s second of the night, came on the power play, which was a key theme of tonight’s game.
It’s no secret that the Knights have struggled tremendously on the man advantage in recent games. In fact, Vegas had gone 1-for-18 in its previous five games. But tonight was a different story, as the Knights converted on four of their five opportunities, including in overtime.
It was certainly a refreshing change of pace, especially coming off the 4-0 loss to Minnesota in which Vegas allowed three power-play goals.
But while Marchessault’s overtime marker was the game-winner, his goal late in the second period was almost as important. That, too, was scored on the power play.
After both teams exchanged goals with wild abandon in the opening frame, the Blues took a 4-2 lead just over five minutes into the second period as Zach Sanford completed his first career NHL hat trick.
It’s unclear exactly what the Knights were doing on the play, as the guy who already had two goals in the game was left all alone in front. Malcolm Subban was out of position after making an impressive blocker save, but three Vegas forwards followed the puck, leaving Sanford by himself in front of a yawning cage.
How many guys does it take to go after one guy with the puck?— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) February 14, 2020
Three apparently. Christ on high. pic.twitter.com/wUTeI5qwGh
The goal gave St. Louis the first two-goal lead of the game for either team, and it seemed as though the Blues would take that lead into the third period.
However, Marchessault had other plans.
His power-play tally came with just 1:01 remaining in the second period, giving Vegas life heading into the third.
That's a much-needed tally. pic.twitter.com/Yz9atzQfO3— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) February 14, 2020
Sure enough, Vegas took advantage of the momentum and knotted things up at 4-4 on a power-play blast by Nate Schmidt 6:33 into the third period.
But just over five minutes later, immediately following a huge penalty kill by the Knights, it was Sanford yet again who made Vegas pay. The Knights were unable to clear the zone after the strenuous kill, but what Deryk Engelland was doing is anybody’s guess.
Sanford was doing his best Oskar Sundqvist impression with a dominant performance against Vegas, but Engelland’s lackluster coverage in front allowed Sanford to score his fourth of the game to give the Blues a rather shocking 5-4 lead.
Fortunately for the Knights, they had a few more tricks up their sleeves, and one came in the form of a deflection goal by Alex Tuch at 15:20 of the third.
It was just Tuch’s eighth goal of the season, but it was a clutch one as he made up for what had been a tough night. He later left the game, however, unable to put any weight on his left leg after taking an awkward spill into the boards.
Vegas’ other trick came from Marchessault, who drew the penalty and then scored the game-winning goal on the subsequent power play.
Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone assisted on the goal, which capped off a nine-point performance by Vegas’ new-look second line of Pacioretty, Stone and William Karlsson.
But Vegas’ entire top six finished with Corsi For percentages above 70, with Pacioretty and Karlsson leading the way at 85.71 percent and 80 percent, respectively.
As a team, the Knights were dominant all night, but especially in the second and third periods. They outshot St. Louis 52-24 and held a significant edge in Corsi (63-28) and High-Danger Corsi (19-7).
They also kept up with St. Louis’ physical style of play and held a slight lead in hits (49-44). The game had a playoff-like atmosphere, so it’s a positive that the Knights were able to compete and come out on top in that environment.
It wasn’t a good night for Subban, who wasn’t supposed to start tonight. However, he did make some key saves, and at least two of Sanford’s goals were the result of inexcusable breakdowns in coverage.
In general, it’s not a great sign that the Knights have given up 10 goals in their last two home games. That being said, they still picked up three out of a possible four points, including two against the defending Stanley Cup champs.
Tonight was St. Louis’ first game without Jay Bouwmeester, who suffered a cardiac event on the bench Tuesday night in Anaheim. The Blues remain atop the Western Conference standings with 74 points.
Vegas entered tonight’s game in a more precarious position, so it was a key win for the Knights, who haven’t won at home since the infamous comeback win against (ironically) St. Louis back on Jan. 4. Granted, they’ve only played four games at T-Mobile Arena since that night, but it’s still the team’s first home win in the Pete DeBoer era. The two points keep the Knights in third place in the Pacific Division with 66 points.
Vegas next takes on the Islanders, fresh off a 5-0 loss to Nashville, on Saturday night.