Golden Knights 5, Blues 1: Stone shines as Vegas sweeps series against St. Louis
The captain scored two goals in a four-goal third period to lead Vegas to victory.
After last night’s thriller between the St. Louis Blues and Vegas Golden Knights, the two teams went after it in the second half of their back-to-back. A four-goal third period helped the Knights claim the win by a final score of 5-1.
Although the Golden Knights were outshot, they played one of their most complete games of the season. Mark Stone scored two goals, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 of 35 shots. He was especially strong in the Blues’ extended 5-on-3 in the third period, helping Vegas complete the two-game series sweep.
Brayden McNabb was active early, and the team was very sound in the defensive zone. The offense showed up and really outplayed the Blues tonight, which is why they were able to end the road trip on a high note.
The Golden Knights got out to an early lead with a snapshot from Shea Theodore that went post and in. The goal came on the first shot of the game for either team and was assisted by William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault, who notched his 200th point as a Golden Knight with the primary assist. With the goal, Theodore broke his 16-game goalless streak with his first since Jan. 22.
Vegas was in total control early and didn’t allow a shot until just over six minutes into the game, which Fleury handled easily.
The game quickly turned quite chippy as McNabb threw a big hit on Oskar Sundqvist after Keegan Kolesar fought Dakota Joshua around the midpoint of the period.
Both teams played at a quick pace throughout the rest of the first period, but no one was able to beat either goaltender, so Vegas headed to the locker room with a 1-0 lead.
Neither team generated many chances in the early stages of the second period, and both teams were playing excellent defensively.
Late in the period the Golden Knights went to the power play after a Robert Bortuzzo high stick on Alex Tuch. Vegas was not able to score on the power play, but it had quite a few chances.
Almost immediately after the Blues’ penalty kill, Ville Husso, who was in net for the Blues, was called for delay of game, which sent the Golden Knights to another power play. The Vegas power play was extremely short-lived after Tuch was called for hooking just 15 seconds later.
Both penalties expired after some unenthusiastic 4-on-4 play as the teams continued to play excellently in their respective defensive zones.
Near the end of the period, Zach Whitecloud was called for tripping after blocking a shot.
Fleury had to stand very tall after a humming start to the Blues power play, but the Golden Knights survived to hear the horn and went to the locker room holding onto their one-goal lead.
The Knights were able to easily kill the rest of the power play, and that’s when they took over.
Stone ripped one past Husso after about a minute of great pressure by the Golden Knights. Stone’s goal extended his personal point streak to seven games, and the goal was assisted by Max Pacioretty and Theodore.
this was just a thing of beauty pic.twitter.com/cNC2tcJAKo— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 14, 2021
A few moments later, however, Sammy Blais cut the Vegas lead back to one. Alec Martinez lost track of Blais, who was left wide open in front of the net. He took a pass from Vladimir Tarasenko, made a strong move from in tight and lifted the puck over Fleury, who had no chance on the play.
But Vegas made it a two-goal game a few minutes later as Pacioretty buried a goal with a beautiful snapshot that went stick-side off the post and in.
DO DOOO DO DO DOOO DO— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 14, 2021
MAKING OUR DREAMS COME TRUUU OOOH OH pic.twitter.com/hidwM7DLqb
Chandler Stephenson made a strong play along the boards before feeding the puck to Pacioretty, who made it a 3-1 game.
Around a minute later, though, Patrick Brown was called for high-sticking. Brown was in the lineup in place of Cody Glass, who was a healthy scratch. Midway through the power play, Stephenson was called for hooking, which set up the Blues with a 5-on-3 power play for around a minute.
The Golden Knights’ penalty kill continued to be spectacular and killed off both penalties, even surviving a lengthy stretch during which Tomas Nosek was without a stick.
Shortly after the huge kill, Stone got another goal on a backhanded wraparound shot. The play had to go to review because the puck slid under the net as it was coming off, but the call on the ice was confirmed, giving the Knights their biggest lead of the game. The goal was assisted by Pacioretty and was the first line’s third goal of the period.
The Blues got the extra skater out with around four minutes to go, but Tuch sealed the game with an empty-netter with around 30 seconds left in regulation. He and Pacioretty are tied for the team lead with 13 goals.
The Knights played their best game of the road trip, during which they went 4-2-0.
The final score doesn’t reflect how close the game was for most of the night; even late, the Blues had a ton of time in the offensive zone, but Fleury and the Knights stood their ground and secured the win.
Vegas now holds a four-point lead over Minnesota and St. Louis with three games in hand over the Blues, as well as a five-point lead over the Avalanche.
The Golden Knights will return to Vegas to host the San Jose Sharks for two games starting Monday; they will do so in front of a T-Mobile Arena crowd at 20-percent capacity.