Preview: Golden Knights look to extend lead in Pacific Division as they take on Blues in second half of back-to-back

Jiri Patera is set to make his NHL debut in net for Vegas.

The Vegas Golden Knights will look to record their third straight win when they take on the St. Louis Blues Sunday night at Enterprise Center.

The Golden Knights are coming off an impressive 4-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in which Jonathan Quick made 33 saves en route to his first shutout as a member of the Golden Knights.

Golden Knights blank Hurricanes 4-0 as Quick records 33-save shutout

The former Kings netminder is 3-0-0 with Vegas but will serve as the backup in today’s game as Jiri Patera is set to make his NHL debut.

Patera, originally drafted by Vegas in the sixth round (No. 161 overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, was called up on Thursday due to the injury to Adin Hill and served as Quick’s backup in Tampa Bay and Carolina.

Patera is 12-13-1 with a 2.66 goals-against average and .916 save percentage with the Henderson Silver Knights this season.

Today’s game also will be especially significant for Ivan Barbashev, who will make his return to St. Louis to face his former team for the first time since getting dealt to Vegas ahead of the trade deadline.

The Blues, who are 14 points out of a wildcard seed with 63 points in 65 games, were clear sellers at this year’s deadline and began making trades as early as Feb. 9 when they moved Vladimir Tarasenko to the Rangers. In addition to sending Barbashev to Vegas for Zach Dean, St. Louis also made the first blockbuster move of the deadline by sending Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari to Toronto and later acquired Jakub Vrana from Detroit.

Barbashev was an early second-round draft selection (No. 33 overall) by St. Louis back in 2014. He scored 78 goals and 178 points in 410 regular-season games spanning seven seasons with the Blues, and he recorded six points in 25 postseason games in St. Louis’ Stanley Cup run in 2019. Barbashev is coming off a career season in which he scored 26 goals and 60 points in 81 games.

He has been a strong fit with the Golden Knights and has two goals and five points in seven games. However, he has gone three games without a point on this road trip after recording points in three straight, including multi-point efforts in back-to-back games against New Jersey and Montreal.

The Golden Knights are 12-9-1 all-time against the Blues and are 1-1-0 against St. Louis this season, with both games taking place in Vegas. The Blues won the first meeting, a 3-2 decision on Nov. 12, while the Golden Knights pulled off a 5-4 shootout win in the Dec. 23 contest. Chandler Stephenson recorded four points in that game, including the power-play equalizer with 1:36 remaining in regulation to force extra time. He then scored the game-winning goal in the shootout.

Jordan Kyrou leads the Blues in goals (29) and points (61), while Robert Thomas has a team-high 41 helpers. Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich are tied for second on the team in scoring with 57 points, while Brayden Schenn has 47 and defenseman Justin Faulk has 33.

The Blues’ special teams have been slightly below average this season, with a power play operating at 19.6 percent (22nd overall) and a penalty kill with a 76.5 percent success rate (20th). St. Louis has gone 1-for-15 on the man-advantage in its last four games. However, staying out of the box helped Vegas in Saturday’s win against the Hurricanes and is something the Golden Knights will look to replicate in today’s tilt.

The Blues are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games but are coming off a 5-2 win against Columbus in which Kyrou scored a hat trick and Thomas Greiss made 37 saves.

That likely means Jordan Binnington will get the nod today against Vegas. Binnington is 22-23-5 with a 3.31 goals-against average, .894 save percentage and two shutouts in 50 starts this season. He is 7-1-4 with a 2.96 goals-against average and .919 save percentage all-time against Vegas. He started both games against the Golden Knights this season, stopping 62 of 68 shots for a combined .912 save percentage.

Projected lineups

Golden Knights
Ivan Barbashev — Jack Eichel — Jonathan Marchessault
Reilly Smith — William Karlsson — Michael Amadio
Paul Cotter — Chandler Stephenson — Phil Kessel
Brett Howden — Teddy Blueger — Keegan Kolesar

Alec Martinez — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague — Zach Whitecloud

Jiri Patera
Jonathan Quick

Alexei Toropchenko — Robert Thomas — Jordan Kyrou
Jakub Vrana — Pavel Buchnevich — Kasperi Kapanen
Brandon Saad — Brayden Schenn — Sammy Blais
Nathan Walker — Nikita Alexandrov — Josh Leivo

Nick Leddy — Colton Parayko
Marco Scandella — Justin Faulk
Torey Krug — Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington
Thomas Greiss