Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 | 4 p.m.
The last time the St. Louis Blues came to town, the Golden Knights stunned them by overcoming a three-goal deficit and winning an emotional game in overtime.
The Blues won’t be quick to forget that. They are the defending Stanley Cup champions and have shown no sort of Cup hangover, rolling through the regular season and sitting atop the Western Conference. The Golden Knights also haven’t had much success all-time against St. Louis and will look to break that streak when the puck drops at 7 p.m. today at T-Mobile Arena.
“Obviously, any time you give up a three-goal lead, you never want to lose those games, especially this time of year,” Vegas forward Chandler Stephenson said. “They’re not really looking at ‘we lost to these guys last time, we need to win.’ Every team you play, you want to win.”
Vegas has won just three of the eight all-time meetings with the Blues, but none in regulation. When they met at T-Mobile Arena on Jan. 4, it was the only time this year the Golden Knights had overcome even a two-goal deficit in a game, much less the three-goal deficit they overcame.
A lot has changed, though. The Golden Knights are 4-7-3 since then and have a new coach. It’s a different team that knocked off the champs.
“That was a long time ago,” Vegas forward Mark Stone said. “Looking back on it, there’s a lot of areas that we need to be better against them. They’re a big team. Big, fast and skilled. So we need to match the intensity and take it a step further.”
While it’s a small change, Stone has a new center in this matchup that will be something to watch tonight. Stone and fellow winger Max Pacioretty have had plenty of centers this season, and will flank William Karlsson, who is making his second appearance since missing eight games.
Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said this week at practice that he wasn’t going back to an old line just because it worked in the past. He was indirectly referencing Karlsson’s old line with Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault, and keeping Paul Stastny between Smith and Marchessault even after Karlsson’s return is evidence of that.
What Vegas has in a Pacioretty-Karlsson-Stone trio is arguably the two best wingers on the team with the best center on the team. It could pay huge dividends.
“I think that he’s one of those guys that no matter who you play him with, he’s going to make that line go. He has that ability,” DeBoer said. “When you can put him with a couple other elite guys, you have the potential to have a game-changing type of line.”
Malcolm Subban will start in goal for Vegas, his second start since Jan. 9 and second under DeBoer. He’s struggled this season, with a .898 save percentage for the year, and particularly in his last six starts, where he has an .874 save percentage.
Vegas will face Blues goalie Jordan Binnington, who followed up a strong rookie season with a .910 save percentage this campaign. He did not start in the last meeting between these two teams but made 23 saves in a 4-2 Blues win in St. Louis on Dec. 12.
TV: AT&T Sports Net (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink 1760)
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
Betting line: Golden Knights minus-150, Blues plus-130; over/under: 6.0 (minus-105, minus-115)
Golden Knights (28-22-8, 64 points) (14-10-4 home), third place, Pacific Division
Coach: Peter DeBoer (first season)
Points leader: Mark Stone (53)
Goals leader: Max Pacioretty (24)
Assists leader: Mark Stone (33)
Expected goalie: Malcolm Subban (2.98 GAA, .898 save percentage)
Blues (32-15-9, 73 points) (14-10-4 road), first place, Central Division
Coach: Craig Berube (second season)
Points leader: David Perron (54)
Goals leader: David Perron (23)
Assists leader: Ryan O’Reilly (39)
Expected goalie: Jordan Binnington (2.66 GAA, .910 save percentage)
Golden Knights projected lineup
Jonathan Marchessault—Paul Stastny—Reilly Smith
Max Pacioretty—William Karlsson—Mark Stone
Chandler Stephenson—Cody Eakin—Alex Tuch
William Carrier—Tomas Nosek—Ryan Reaves
Brayden McNabb—Nate Schmidt
Jon Merrill—Shea Theodore
Nick Holden—Deryk Engelland
Malcolm Subban, Marc-Andre Fleury