Golden Knights suffer 3-2 loss to Blues, snapping winning streak at nine games

Vegas yielded two goals in 40 seconds in the second period.

The Vegas Golden Knights’ nine-game winning streak came to an abrupt end as they fell short in a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

A dominant second period by the Blues proved costly, as St. Louis scored two goals in 40 seconds, the second of which proved to be the game-winner.

The Golden Knights flipped the script and took control of the game in the third period but were unable to net the equalizer.

Adin Hill suffered his first loss as a member of the Golden Knights, yielding three goals on 28 shots for an .893 save percentage.

For just the fifth time this season, the Golden Knights surrendered the first goal of the game, as Brandon Saad beat Hill short-side to give the Blues a 1-0 lead at 9:47 of the opening frame.

The Blues held that lead for less than 60 seconds, however, as the power kill came through once again.

Reilly Smith’s eighth of the season was his third shorthanded tally of the year; only one other team in the NHL (Chicago) has more shorthanded goals than Smith.

Chandler Stephenson started the play, blowing past Torey Krug before turning to his go-to breakaway move, but Jordan Binnington sealed the five-hole to shut him down. Stephenson regained control of the puck, however, drawing three Blues skaters towards the wall. His patience forced St. Louis to lose track of the trailing Smith, who came in unopposed and beat Binnington to even things up at 1-1 at 10:46 of the first.

Vegas took its first lead of the game when Phil Kessel scored his second goal in two games just 2:43 into the second period.

Paul Cotter recorded the secondary assist on the play, giving him three points in two games since returning to the lineup.

But the second period was one of Vegas’ worst of the season.

St. Louis was absolutely dominant, and aside from the early goal by Kessel, Vegas had nothing going. Hill was very strong early on, but a brutal turnover erased the Golden Knights’ lead late in the frame.

There was a miscommunication between Hill and Nicolas Hague, and Hill’s gaffe led directly to Ivan Barbashev’s goal at 16:06.

Just 40 seconds later, Ryan O’Reilly gave the Blues a 3-2 lead as St. Louis scored two goals on three shots.

In total, St. Louis outshot Vegas 19-8 in the middle frame and led 31-14 in shot attempts, 18-4 in scoring chances and 7-2 in high-danger Corsi at all strengths. The Blues finished the middle frame with a 78.47 percent expected goal share.

The third period got off to a rough start, as Stephenson took an early penalty for holding just 34 seconds in. Just seven seconds after Vegas killed it off, the Golden Knights got called for delay of game, sending St. Louis to its fourth man-advantage of the night.

But the Vegas penalty kill came through yet again, keeping Vegas within one.

From there, Vegas took control of the game.

The Golden Knights outshot St. Louis 22-5 in the final frame and also held comfortable leads in shot attempts (37-12), scoring chances (13-3) and high-danger chances (5-1) at all strengths.

Two of those high-danger attempts came back-to-back, but Vegas was unable to capitalize on either.

Binnington robbed Brayden McNabb point-blank, and then Brayden Schenn blocked Jonathan Marchessault’s rebound attempt destined for the back of the wide-open net.

The Golden Knights continued to push, but Binnington stood tall, stopping all 22 of Vegas’ third-period shots to close out the win.

It was just Vegas’ third loss of the season and the first loss when not giving up multiple power-play goals.

In fact, the Vegas penalty kill was perfect. Not only did the Golden Knights go 4-for-4, but Smith scored a shorthanded marker midway through the first period.

The Golden Knights did not get a single power play in the contest, which did not help.

Vegas surrendered just four shots in the first period and five in the third, but the second period was all St. Louis. That proved to be the difference in the game, in addition to Binnington outplaying Hill.

The Golden Knights returned home from a perfect 5-0-0 road trip but were unable to carry over the momentum, failing to deliver a 60-minute effort. The late push was promising, but it was too little, too late.

Though they failed to tie the franchise record of 10 consecutive wins, the Golden Knights will look to get back in the win column when they take on the Sharks on Tuesday.