Published Friday, May 7, 2021 | 3 p.m.
Updated 49 minutes ago
The Golden Knights used nearly every second a regular season hockey game affords them, but they got the win Friday night.
Jonathan Marchessault netted the game-winner with 17.7 seconds remaining in overtime, securing the second come-from-behind victory in as many games for Vegas and lifting the Golden Knights to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas improved to 9-0 in games decided in overtime this season, the only NHL team with a perfect record (Vegas is 1-2 when the game reaches the shootout).
The Golden Knights trailed 3-2 entering the third period, a game after they lost a third-period lead and fell behind. And just like Wednesday night, they found the game-tying goal, allowing them to win it in overtime.
The equalizer came after the Golden Knights created some havoc around the St. Louis crease, so when the puck kicked out of the scrum, Nicolas Roy didn’t have much time to think. He stepped, collected, turned and fired, and it found the back of the net at 6:52 into the third period to tie the game.
The Golden Knights scored first courtesy of Reilly Smith’s skate on a redirect, but the lead didn’t last as Ryan O’Reilly’s short-handed tally evened the score after one period. The second was quiet for a big portion of it, but business picked up with two St. Louis goals within two minutes to put the Blues up 3-1.
Alec Martinez blasted home a slap shot with 9.1 seconds left in the second to trim Vegas’ deficit to just one. It allowed the Golden Knights to enter the third needing only one to tie, and Roy did just that.
The Golden Knights led in final shots on goal 35-25.
Check back to lasvegassun.com later for more coverage and read below for live updates from the game.
Late second-period goal shrinks Golden Knights deficit vs. Blues
The Golden Knights gave up two goals in the second to fall behind the Blues, but a late goal in the second helped ease the deficit just a hair. Vegas trailed 3-2 after two periods at T-Mobile Arena on Friday.
The Blues had the first power play of the period and the game remained 1-1 tied thanks to Vegas goalie Robin Lehner. St. Louis bombarded the Vegas net, and in one sequence Lehner had to make two quick saves on Mike Hoffman then extend the other way across the crease to deny David Perron a one-timer, all within in 10 seconds.
Much of the second was a defensive struggle. Neither team generated anything dangerous, with many shots coming from long distance in a hope to get something on the net. Then the Blues struck, seemingly out of nowhere to open the floodgates on the period.
Perron was first, connecting this time to continue the season-long torment of his old team, his fourth goal in seven games against the Golden Knights. Alex Tuch even got a piece of the centering pass, but not enough as it trickled to Perron for the shot to give the Blues the lead at 14:34.
Moments later they scored again, this time from a bad angle. Jaden Schwartz collected the puck at the red line and fired a near-90-degree shot at the net, and Lehner never seemed to see it. It snuck by him to give the Blues a 3-1 lead.
A two-goal hole is hard to climb out of in the third period, so Alec Martinez made sure the Golden Knights didn’t have to. With 9.1 seconds remaining in the second, Martinez teed up a one-timer through a screen set by rookie Peyton Krebs to trim the St. Louis advantage to just a goal heading to the final period.
Vegas led in shots 22-17 after two periods.
Golden Knights, Blues tied after first period
The first period was overall a decent one for the Golden Knights, with only a special-teams faux pas putting a damper on it. The Golden Knights scored the first goal of the game but finished the first period tied with the St. Louis Blues 1-1 at T-Mobile Arena on Friday.
Reilly Smith’s goal for Vegas wasn’t exactly how he drew it up, but you won’t hear him complaining. He put himself in the right position next to the net, so even when he swung and missed on Nicolas Hague’s feed, his skate was there to deflect it into the net and give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead at 13:23.
The Golden Knights had a couple of looks, but little sustained offense through the early goings of the first period. Alex Pietrangelo had a clean shot at his old team off an odd-man rush 29 seconds in and Chandler Stephenson had another soon after. But most of Vegas’ chances came spread out, and even the first power play didn’t produce much offense.
It did, however, seem to tilt the ice in their favor. The Golden Knights started to control play better after the power play and had four of the game’s six shots, including Smith’s goal, from the time the power play ended until Vegas drew another one with 2:05 remaining in the first. A goal did come on that penalty, but not in the way Vegas hoped.
A strong forecheck from Tyler Bozak after a short-handed dump-in led to St. Louis getting the puck right back, then Bozak fed captain Ryan O’Reilly for the short-handed goal to even the game.
The period ended soon after, with Vegas leading 10-9 in shots.
The Golden Knights take on the St. Louis Blues tonight to open a two-game weekend series. If the standings hold where they are right now, Vegas will host them next weekend too.
The Golden Knights lead the West Division entering play today, and the Blues are in fourth place. That means they would meet in the first round of the playoffs, expected to begin next weekend. With that in mind, the Golden Knights are expecting a postseason-like feel when the puck drops at 7 p.m. today at T-Mobile Arena.
“Their message is going to be about sending a message for the first round of the playoffs if this our opponent,” Vegas coach Pete DeBoer said. “That’s what I would be doing. (Blues coach Craig Berube) is a smart guy, and I’m sure he’s doing the same thing. I expect that that’s going to be their motivation, that they feel that this is a potential matchup and they want to make sure they’re sending the right messages for that this weekend.”
If history holds, the Golden Knights have little to be wary of. Despite their lack of success against St. Louis in their first three years as a franchise, the Golden Knights have handled the Blues this season, winning four of six games and outscoring them 26-11. Vegas has scored at least four goals in all but one of those meetings and has surpassed five goals four times.
But this isn’t the same St. Louis team as earlier in the season. After a rough stretch in the middle of the season, the Blues found their legs. They endured a stretch of losing 10 of 15 games but have won five of seven since, solidifying their hold on a West Division playoff berth.
The Blues haven’t clinched yet but need just two points over their final games, or for the Kings to lose more than once in their final five, meaning they would clinch with a victory tonight.
“I know they’ve been playing well. At the end of the day, they’re fighting to clinch playoffs these last couple of games,” Vegas defenseman Nicolas Hague said. “Everybody’s going to be playing hard. I think it’s already a playoff mentality because all these points down the stretch mean so much.”
Vegas has four games left this season with plenty still to accomplish. The West Division crown is in reach, and two victories against the Blues would make it that much closer, though Monday’s showdown with Colorado looms large. The President’s Trophy, given to the team with the most regular-season points, is also a possibility, and Vegas has never won it. The Golden Knights are second in the league with 76 points, four points behind Carolina, though the Golden Knights have two games in hand.
Most importantly, though, the Golden Knights are getting close to healthy at the right time. Forward Ryan Reaves, who has been on injured reserve since last appearing April 11, returned to practice today, though he is not expected to play tonight. Once Reaves returns, the Golden Knights will only be missing forward Max Pacioretty, who left Saturday’s game and missed the next two. His status is unknown.
Then it’s the playoffs. The Blues are the likeliest opponent if the Golden Knights hold onto the division lead, which makes tonight’s game an interesting preview of what next weekend could be like.
“A lot of guys on that team have been in this situation before, with playoffs winning the Stanley Cup (in 2019),” forward Chandler Stephenson said. “They’re going to be ready and we are too.”
TV: AT&T SportsNet (DirecTV 684, Cox 1313, CenturyLink 1760)
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
Betting line: Golden Knights minus-180, Blues plus-160; over/under: 5.5 (minus-120, EVEN)
Golden Knights (37-13-2, 76 points; 1st place, West Division)
Coach: Pete DeBoer (second season)
Points leader: Mark Stone (59)
Goals leader: Max Pacioretty (24)
Assists leader: Mark Stone (38)
Expected goalie: Robin Lehner (2.27 GAA, .915 save percentage)
Blues (24-19-8, 56 points; 4th place, West Division)
Coach: Craig Berube (third season)
Points leaders: Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron (50)
Goals leader: Ryan O’Reilly (23)
Assists leader: David Perron (35)
Expected goalie: Jordan Binnington (2.65 GAA, .911 save percentage)
Golden Knights projected lineup
Mattias Janmark—Chandler Stephenson—Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault—William Karlsson—Alex Tuch
Nicolas Roy—Peyton Krebs—Alex Tuch
William Carrier—Keegan Kolesar—Dylan Coghlan
Brayden McNabb—Shea Theodore
Alec Martinez—Alex Pietrangelo
Nicolas Hague—Zach Whitecloud
Robin Lehner, Marc-Andre Fleury