Blues Sweep Home Stand With 3-1 Win Over Vegas

ST LOUIS, MO – The Blues completed a sweep of their four-game homestand Monday night with a 3-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Ryan O’Reilly scored the game-winning goal in this photo over the glove of Malcolm Subban. (Dilip Vishwanat/AP Photo) In those four games, they have outscored their opponents 19-8.

The win keeps them just 2 points out of second place in the division behind Nashville with a game in hand. The Predators also won in Minnesota by a score of 1-0. St. Louis is also 4 points out of first place behind Winnipeg with equal games played. While winning the division seems unlikely at this point, climbing ahead of Nashville would give the Blues home-ice advantage in a first-round playoff matchup. If they were to tie, the Blues hold the tie-breaker over the Predators at the moment.

Vegas was a hot club coming into this game and was dubbed the strongest team in the west by somebody (?). They were 10-1-1 in their last 12 games since the trade deadline where they acquired Mark Stone from Ottawa, but whoever decided they were the strongest team may have forgotten to include the Blues in their report.

Let’s get to the highlights of the game.

First Period

Both the Blues and Golden Knights had trouble getting to their offense in this game. The first period was a lot of back and forth without a whole lot of offensive pressure from either club. Vegas recorded their first shot on goal at the 3:46 mark but the Blues couldn’t manage their first until the 6:48 mark.

Malcolm Subban was in net for the Knights and he would only face 5 shots on goal from the Blues in the opening period. One of those found the back of the net and it came off the stick of Ivan Barbashev. It was his 4th goal and 5th point in the last three games. It’s been noted that his parents are visiting from Russia and witnessed his first NHL hat trick on Thursday night. They may not be allowed to leave St. Louis.

The play started with Subban mishandling a puck to the side of his net. He gave it away to Zach Sanford behind the cage and Sanford found Barbashev alone in front. The goal came at the 18:41 mark and gave the Blues the lead 1-0 to end the first.

Second Period

William Karlsson got a power play goal at the 15:12 mark with just 2 seconds left on a penalty to Jay Bouwmeester for slashing the Knights’ Jonathan Marchessault. Karlsson’s goal was off a big, juicy rebound right in the slot and there wasn’t much Jordan Binnington could do about it. The goal tied the game at 1-1.

Late in the period, Bouwmeester found Ryan O’Reilly streaking up ice. His pass hit O’Reilly’s tape just as he crossed the opponent’s blue line and he was all alone on Subban. O’Reilly found an opening over the glove of the Vegas goalie to put the Blues back on top 2-1 at the 18:14 mark.


One thing that isn’t discussed as much as offensive production is the way this defense has come together in the second half of the season. Everybody talks about how important a good “puck-moving defenseman” is in this league and Boy! do the Blues have some of them.

Third Period

Binnigton made some good saves to keep the Blues in front. About 5 minutes into the period there was a giant scramble in front of the net. It looked like the two teams were playing a game of Twister. But Vegas couldn’t find the net and the Blues finally cleared it. Moments later, the Blues cashed in on the other end.

Robert Bortuzzo took a shot from the point. Subban made the save with his pads but allowed a rebound to his right. The puck hit Sanford, who was crashing the net and went in.

“It hit me right in the neck,” Sanford told reporters after the game. “I haven’t had one (a goal) in a little bit so it was good for that one to go in.”

It doesn’t matter what it hit, as long as it wasn’t swatted in with a hand, or kicked in with a skate, we will take it. The goal gave Sanford his first multi-point game since Jan. 23rd. He now has an assist in each of the last 4 games and notched 5 points on the 4-game homestand.

The Blues held on for the victory and completed the season sweep of the Golden Knights winning all three matchups this year.

What’s Next?

  • The Blues have a 3-day break now before traveling to New York and New Jersey for back-to-back games with the Rangers and Devils this Friday and Saturday.
  • The last week of the season is also a busy one with Colorado in town on Monday, on the road in Chicago on Wednesday, back at home Thursday with Philly and then closing out the regular season with Vancouver at home on Saturday.
  • Although the Blues didn’t play so well at home early in the year, they are 12-4-0 since Jan 1st playing in Enterprise Center. They’ve been a good road team all season, but I believe home ice advantage would be an advantage in the first round. Who wants to listen to all that crap they do in Nashville for an extra game? Not me.
  • Alexander Steen has taken on the role of bringing the 4th line to life. It’s got to be hard for an aging veteran who once was among the team leader in points to accept what most would call a diminished role. But with the importance of depth scoring, it’s an important line that needs to have an identity, and he is helping this team to have that. Kudos to #20.

 

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