Preview: Blues at Golden Knights
The St. Louis Blues have hit a bump in the road following an eight-game winning streak, losing two in a row and absorbing their worst defeat of the season. The defending Stanley Cup champions will look to avoid a winless three-game road trip when they visit the surging Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday afternoon in a matchup of division leaders.
St. Louis is coming off a 7-3 thumping at Colorado but it has earned points in all seven meetings with Vegas, improving to 5-0-2 with a 4-2 home win on Dec. 12. "We just kind of deviated from our normal structure ... and obviously it killed us," Blues center Ryan O'Reilly said after Thursday's loss. "We have to adjust, and we have got to respond." The Golden Knights will be looking to match their longest winning streak of the season after improving to 3-0-0 on their seven-game homestand with a 5-4 win over Philadelphia on Thursday night. Vegas' Gerard Gallant and St. Louis' Craig Berube were among the four coaches selected Friday for the NHL All-Star Game later this month.
TIME: 4 p.m. ET. TV: NHL Network, Sportsnet, FS Midwest, AT&T Sportsnet-Rocky Mountain
ABOUT THE BLUES (26-10-6): Berube juggled his lines Friday, elevating Jaden Schwartz to the No. 1 unit while pairing Brayden Schenn and Tyler Bozak with Robert Thomas, who scored twice Thursday. The newly formed third line featured Oskar Sundqvist centering Alexander Steen and Ivan Barbashev, reprising the trio that fared so well in the run to the Stanley Cup. “Just looking for some response here after two losses,” Berube said. “We’re not happy with what’s going on, so you mix things up a little bit once in a while.”
ABOUT THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS (23-15-6): Max Pacioretty, one of eight players from the Pacific Division vying for the Last Men In for the All-Star Game, leads Vegas in goals (18) and points (43) after scoring twice in Thursday's win. "I'm just worrying about the team and contributing, and I feel happy about my play this season," said Pacioretty, who is on a tear with eight goals and 17 points over the last dozen games. Jonathan Marchessault, who sat out Thursday with a lower-body injury, will be a game-time decision Saturday.
1. Vegas G Marc-Andre Fleury on Friday declined the invitation to play in the All-Star Game.
2. Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo has four goals and five assists over the last six games.
3. Vegas has snuffed out nine of 10 penalties during the three-game winning streak.
PREDICTION: Blues 3, Golden Knights 2