Knights, Blues meet after opposite results in their last action
St. Louis is singing the blues coming into Las Vegas on Friday night to face the Golden Knights off a 1-0 loss to a Chicago Blackhawks team that had lost eight straight games while Vegas looked golden again in a 5-0 rout of Anaheim.
Both games occurred Wednesday night, giving St. Louis (6-7-3, 15 points) and Vegas (8-10-1) one day to prepare for their encounter at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Speaking of golden, Vegas veteran Marc-Andre Fleury debuted his glittering gold goaltending pads in the win over the Ducks, a game in which he had a 29-save shutout. Vegas scored on three of its first four shots of the second period to cruise to the lopsided win.
The five goals by the Knights match a season high set Nov. 8 in a 5-3 victory at Ottawa.
“I don’t know if it was the pads or the way the guys played, you know?” Fleury said with a laugh. “Definitely a good feeling to get a win again and not give up too many goals there.”
The Vegas locker room had the same jovial feel of last year’s historic success in the Golden Knights’ inaugural season. The team needed a lift with it now tied for sixth in the Pacific Division with Arizona.
The Golden Knights are six points from division leader Vancouver (10-6-3, 23 points) but also the same distance from last-place team Los Angeles (5-11-1, 11 points).
Vegas center Cody Eakin scored twice against Anaheim for his first multi-goal game since March 8 at Detroit. He has scored points in five consecutive games. Alex Tuch and defenseman Nick Holden finished with a goal and an assist.
“I’m just having fun,” Eakin told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I think that’s important to enjoy it and have fun. Pucks are going in right now. There will be times when they aren’t, but I’ll try and ride it.”
The Blues, meanwhile, did not have fun in the loss to Chicago, and they now enter Friday’s game on a two-game losing skid and in last place in the Central Division (three points behind the struggling Blackhawks).
To make matters worse, the Blues were shut out for the first time this season at the hands of Chicago, which has been forced to already make a coaching change.
St. Louis has scored two goals or fewer in three of its past five games. The Blues have lost three of those games.
“We just have to find ways to win right now,” St. Louis coach Mike Yeo said. “That’s what it comes down to.”
The Blues are having trouble putting games together in which their offense and defense come together.
They had a 4-1 recent stretch in which they had goal totals of seven, five, four and four. Their defense, however, struggled in those games. Now, their quality defense is masking an offense that is finding it hard to score.
The Blues have scored 52 goals but have allowed 52. They are the only team besides Chicago (minus-15 goal differential) that is not on the plus side of goal differential in the Central Division.
“We’ve been scoring a lot of goals this year,” center Tyler Bozak said. “We had some chances (against Chicago) and weren’t able to finish it off. We’ve been scoring tons of goals and giving up a lot and then we can’t score and we only give up one. It’s a tough loss. I thought we did a lot of good things, but we have to get back to work tomorrow.”