Wednesday night in St. Louis, the Vegas Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues face off for the second time this week. The Knights (25-10-2) cruised to victory on Monday 6-1, giving the Blues (16-16-6) their seventh straight loss.
Here are some key stats to help preview the game, along with some players to keep an eye on. There will also be a free pick, where right now Vegas is a comfortable -156 road favorite, while St. Louis is a home underdog at +132. Puck drop is at 9:00 P.M. Eastern on ESPN+.
By the Numbers
Offensively, it’s no surprise Vegas holds the edge. The Golden Knights are 10th in the NHL with 3.22 goals per game on just over 31 shots. However, their power play leaves a lot to be desired, coming in 25th at 17.5 percent.
The Blues, meanwhile, are averaging 2.68 goals per game, 18th in the NHL, on a little under 30 shots. Their power play is also struggling, ranking just one spot ahead of Vegas at 17.7 percent.
The biggest gap between these clubs resides in the key defensive stats. No team allows fewer goals per game than Vegas, which averages 2.24 goals allowed on under 28 shots. Their penalty kill is also good enough to crack the top five, coming in fourth at 85 percent.
A once-proud defensive team, the Blues are just 25th with 3.21 goals allowed on 29.5 shots. Their ability to kill penalties has also taken a dive, ranking 26th with a 75.4 percent kill rate.
The Golden Knights have a bevy of players who can score with the best of them, entering the game with eight players at 20 points or more. The leader is right wing Mark Stone, who leads the team with 29 assists and 41 total points. Stone finally broke his three-game scoreless drought Monday with an assist and now looks to get back to his norm.
Another significant contributor for Vegas is left wing Max Pacioretty. Like Stone, Pacioretty had been held off the scoresheet for several games before dishing out an assist on Monday. The former Canadiens captain still holds a comfortable team lead in goals with 18 along with 16 helpers.
Others to watch for the Knights include defenseman Shea Theodore, center William Karlsson, and left wing Jonathan Marchessault. Theodore just wrapped up a four-game point streak to bring him to 29 points on the year, while Karlsson has points in four of his last five and Marchessault three of his last five, giving them each 27 points total. Defenseman Alec Martinez has also been hot, scoring twice on Monday to move him up to seven goals and 15 assists.
The Blues have had long stretches without certain players due to injury, but those who have stayed on the ice have largely been productive. The prime example is veteran left wing David Perron, who not only leads St. Louis with 24 assists and 37 points but is tied for the team-lead in goals with 13. Perron had a three-game point streak in hand but had it snapped by the Knights on Monday.
Not far behind Perron is center Ryan O’Reilly. The former Av and Sabre is tied with Perron with 13 goals and trails him by just three helpers. O’Reilly was also shut out Monday but scored twice over the previous three contests.
St. Louis has just three other players over the 20-point threshold; center Brayden Schenn, center Jordan Kyrou, and left wing Mike Hoffman. Schenn had assists in back-to-back games before Monday, giving him 14 on the year in addition to 12 goals. Meanwhile, Kyrou is at 24 points but marred in a four-game drought, while Hoffman recently snapped his five-game drought to give him 21 points total.
Expect both teams to make a goalie change from Monday. For Vegas, that means shifting back to Marc-André Fleury. The former Stanley Cup champion has been excellent this season, going 17-9-0 with a 2.14 GAA and a .924 save percentage while also racking up four shutouts.
At the other end of the ice, St. Louis should turn back to Jordan Binnington after backup Ville Husso started consecutive games. Binnington, who also led his team to a Stanley Cup victory, is 10-11-5 with a 2.77 GAA and a .904 save percentage.
Expect Wednesday’s game to be a lot closer on the scoreboard than Monday’s contest. Despite the lopsided score, Vegas had just one more shot on goal than St. Louis, who will likely be starting the steady Binnington this time around.
However, it’s hard not to roll with the Knights here. They are firing on all cylinders per usual, and have health and momentum clearly on their side. Not to mention, St. Louis is somehow a dismal 4-9-4 at home this season.
In this West Division battle, go with the favorite and bet the Golden Knights to come out on top.
Betting Pick: Vegas Golden Knights (-156).
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