Blues 3, Golden Knights 1: Vegas unable to beat Binnington after rough start, splits two-game set in St. Louis
The Knights have now lost four out of their last five games.
The Vegas Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues clashed yet again on Wednesday night as the Golden Knights looked to build on their momentum from Monday’s lopsided.
That did not happen, as the Blues responded with an impressive effort, taking this one 3-1.
Jordan Binnington made 50 saves in the winning effort, which snapped St. Louis’ seven-game losing streak.
Chandler Stephenson returned from his three-game suspension for Vegas, but the Knights were still short a skater as Alec Martinez, who scored twice in Monday’s win, was a late scratch.
The Blues got out to a very quick lead as they scored only 45 seconds into the game. It was Vladimir Tarasenko who beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a quick wrist shot that went glove-side. The goal marked the first lead for St. Louis since March 28th against Anaheim.
It was an abysmal start for Vegas in all facets of play, and the Blues capitalized.
Sammy Blais doubled the St. Louis lead at 7:21 with a rocket snapshot.
Although Fleury was beaten twice, he made a few great stops that kept the Golden Knights in the game early on.
The hits kept coming as Mark Stone went to the box for slashing, but the Vegas penalty kill was able to take care of business as usual.
The horn sounded, and the Golden Knights were fortunate to go the locker room down two goals considering the lackluster first period of play.
The Knights had an opportunity to gain some momentum as they went to the power play after a hooking call on St. Louis early in the second period. Although the goal did not come for Vegas, the Knights were able to get a few chances. But a failed power play would become a theme throughout the game.
Vegas began to take control of the play and was rewarded with another man advantage after Reilly Smith was caught with a high stick after dashing in on Binnington. The power play struggles continued, though, as the Knights were unable to set up and did not generate much of anything.
The Golden Knights had their best shift of the second late in the period, but they were unable to beat Binnington, who was excellent all night.
Vegas went to its third power play of the period after a delay of game call with less than two minutes left, but the Blues (especially Binnington) held them off the board until the horn sounded. Vegas went to the locker room after playing a much more encouraging period, but still faced a two-goal deficit.
The third got started and the Blues killed off the remaining seconds on the Vegas man advantage.
The Blues began to create some momentum and were able to get in tight on Fleury a few times, but Fleury was able to give the Golden Knights a fighting chance down the stretch.
Fleury could only hold on so long, however, as Jake Walman scored his first career NHL goal to extend the lead to three.
The Blues were buzzing for the majority of the third, but the Knights were able to end Binnington’s shutout bid when Nic Roy broke his 24-game goalless drought with a wrister that went bar-down.
Ryan Reaves got the secondary assist on the play for his 100th career point.
Vegas had yet another opportunity on the man advantage after Marco Scandella shot the puck over the glass. It was the fourth power play of the game for the Knights, and they pulled Fleury for an extra attacker around thirty seconds into the man advantage. But the power play went by without much of a whimper.
Binnington made another big stop late, but the Knights fell in the end.
A huge part of that was the power play, as the Knights finished the game 0-for-4 on the man advantage. Vegas has come up empty on 18 straight power plays.
The Knights attempted more than 70 shots at 5-on-5 and were dominant in the second period with a 40-8 edge in Corsi, but they were unable to beat a goaltender who has struggled mightily against Vegas this season and in the past.
Though the Knights responded to a rough start with a strong second-period push, they were unable to cut the deficit and get on the board until late in the third. Binnington played his best game of the season, and the Knights couldn’t capitalize on key chances.
Vegas committed too many turnovers, gave up too many odd-man rushes, left too many players open in front of the net and struggled with puck management all night. If not for Fleury, who stopped 32 of 35 for a .914 save percentage, this could have been a blowout win for the Blues.
The Knights have now lost four out of five games. They remain four points out of first as the Avalanche lost to the Wild by a final score of 8-3.
The Golden Knights return home to host the red-hot Arizona Coyotes on Friday night and will look to get back in the win column.