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Golden Knights 6, Blues 1: Vegas cruises behind dominant second period

With two goals in the first period and four goals in the second, St. Louis didn’t stand a chance after 40.

Vegas Golden Knights v St Louis Blues
Tomas Nosek of the Vegas Golden Knights and Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues battle
Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights beat the St. Louis Blues 6-1 on Monday, ending a three-game losing streak. It’s the Golden Knights’ fourth win in five games against the Blues this season, and the Golden Knights have gotten a point in each game.

The biggest narrative arc entering this game was Alex Pietrangelo, former Blues captain, returning to St. Louis for the first time. The Golden Knights’ defenseman had a primary assist and played 22:57 against his former team, with a 61.83 expected goal percentage.

On St. Louis’ end, Colton Parayko returned. Parayko was on ice for three goals against and played 19:46, going without a shot on goal.

The Golden Knights got points from 15 players in Monday’s contest. Alec Martinez led the team with two goals, while William Carrier had a goal and an assist and Keegan Kolesar had two assists.

Tomas Nosek continued playing the best hockey of his career, getting his 10th point in the last 11 games as he scored first for Vegas:

Nosek now has four goals in those 11 games, scoring on Saturday against the Minnesota Wild. Nosek would miss a chunk of the game with a face injury, but returned in the third period and played 13:22.

Martinez doubled the lead exactly six minutes after Nosek’s goal, his third goal since March 27:

However, Tyler Bozak cut into the lead before the first period ended. The goal came on a delayed whistle as Bozak was all alone in the crease.

That would turn out to be the only goal Robin Lehner and the Golden Knights allowed, so it’s hard to be too upset about in retrospect. Still, the Golden Knights defense needs to be better than that and they largely were, allowing just seven high-danger chances at 5-on-5 including just one in the third period.

Martinez again doubled the lead midway through the second period, his first two-goal game as a member of the Golden Knights and taking the lead in goals among Vegas defensemen:

Just 32 seconds later William Carrier scored his first goal in five games:

Jonathan Marchessault scored an extremely bad-angle goal, banking the puck off of Ville Husso’s helmet to score from behind the red line:

Marchessault’s goal — the Golden Knights’ third of the second period in just 1:59 of game time — led to Husso’s departure from the game. Husso made 14 saves on 19 shots, facing just 1.66 expected goals. He made seven saves on nine low-danger shots.

Marchessault hadn’t scored in 12 games before his second-period tally in this contest.

Nicolas Hague made the score 6-1 after a slapshot from the point found its way through Jordan Binnington:

Binnington made 12 saves on 13 shots, including three high-danger saves in 30:52.

Lehner was key for the Golden Knights in this game, making 31 saves on 32 shots. He faced 2.13 expected goals against and made eight saves on nine high-danger shots.

The Golden Knights themselves dominated the game at 5-on-5, with a 56.6 shot percentage and 65.6 expected goal percentage. They allowed the Blues just 1.33 expected goals at 5-on-5 and generated 2.53. All seven goals between both teams came at 5-on-5.

After Hague’s goal, Ryan Reaves took a double minor of roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct. The Golden Knights killed off all four minutes of the Blues’ power play. The penalty kill played 5:38 in this game, allowing eight shots, two high-danger chances and 0.79 expected goals. Lehner was the best penalty killer for Vegas in this game.

Vegas would then get their own chance on the power play but failed to capitalize. The Golden Knights’ man advantage went 0-for-2 in this game, producing just two shots on goal and 0.15 expected goals in that time.

Three of the Golden Knights’ lines that played at least two minutes of 5-on-5 time dominated the game. The two lines that didn’t were Ryan Reaves, William Carrier and Nicolas Roy and Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Cody Glass.

The Stone trio generated just 0.06 expected goals at 5-on-5 to 0.22 against and three shots to five against. The Carrier trio had just 0.09 expected goals for to 0.4 against and were the only line to allow a goal. The only defensive pairing to allow a goal was Hague and Nick Holden.

Vegas remains four points behind the Avalanche with a game in hand for the West division lead.

The Golden Knights stay in St. Louis and will play the Blues again Wednesday at 6 p.m.