Golden Knights suffer 3-1 loss to Blues despite strong effort by Lehner

Alec Martinez left the game in the third period and did not return.

The banged-up Golden Knights played their first game in six days and the first since losing captain Mark Stone and goal-scorer Max Pacioretty to injury.

The St. Louis Blues handed Vegas its second straight loss by securing a 3-1 win Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena. Once again, the Knights lost a player to injury during the game, as Alec Martinez left the game in the third period and did not return.

Vegas entered the game with a shaken-up forward corps, while the Blues were without Pavel Buchnevich due to a two-game suspension from the Department of Player Safety.

The Blues got an early power-play opportunity after William Carrier was whistled for hooking, but the Golden Knights’ penalty kill was successful on its first test of the night.

It took the Knights nearly seven minutes to record their first shot as the Blues got the first seven of the night.

Despite being absent at morning skate, Robin Lehner was sharp in the early stages of the first period, making 10 saves before the halfway point of the frame.

But it was the Golden Knights who broke the ice and got on the board first with a goal from the Misfits Line.

William Karlsson opened the scoring after Reilly Smith entered the zone on a 2-on-1 break. Smith fed Karlsson tape-to-tape, and Karlsson fired a wrist shot past Jordan Binnington.

The Misfits Line continued to buzz as Marchessault rang the bar after another 2-on-1.

Late in the first period, both teams were flying end-to-end, but Lehner and Binnington stood tall.

The Knights got a flurry of shots from William Carrier and Brett Howden (in his Golden Knights debut), but Binnington’s right pad made every stop.

The teams combined for 18 high-danger chances and the Golden Knights garnered a 62.7 percent expected goal share in the period, according to Natural Stat Trick.

The Blues tied the game early in the second period with a goal from Brandon Saad on a wrist shot from the slot. Saad gathered a rebound and fired it under Lehner’s glove.

The Golden Knights got their first power play of the game when Colton Parayko was whistled for hooking Keegan Kolesar.

The man advantage didn’t last long, however, as Martinez went to the box for tripping. The teams killed both penalties, however.

The second period was less lively throughout as the teams only combined for eight high-danger chances.

Early in the third, Peyton Krebs was whistled for holding, which gave the Blues their third power play of the game. The Golden Knights were able to kill it off, however.

Just over seven minutes into the third, Martinez was tripped and fell hard into the boards, which sent the Golden Knights to the power play. After a short conversation with the trainer, Martinez went to the locker room. He did not return, and Pete DeBoer did not have an update on his status following the game.

Lehner answered the call after a shorthanded breakaway by Ivan Barbashev, and the Golden Knights’ man-advantage went quietly.

Less than a minute after the kill, the Blues took the lead after a neutral-zone turnover by Alex Pietrangelo. The play set St. Louis on a 3-on-0 rush, and Vladimir Tarasenko poked a one-timed shot past Lehner.

Lehner was able to keep Tarasenko off the board throughout the game, but his seventh shot of the night finally broke the ice.

The Golden Knights pulled Lehner for the extra attacker with 2:12 left in regulation, but Barbashev iced the game for the Blues with an empty netter with 1:12 remaining.

It was Lehner’s strongest performance of the season despite the loss, as he kept the Knights in the game all night. He stopped 35 of 37 shots for a .946 save percentage, many of which were uncontested high-danger chances; Binnington made 42 saves on 43 shots.

The Golden Knights are now 1-2-0, only the second time in franchise history that they started out with two losses through three games.

Vegas will look to bounce back against the undefeated Edmonton Oilers Friday night.