The resilient Vegas Golden Knights will try to sustain their momentum Monday when they visit the St. Louis Blues.
Despite missing several key players due to injuries and the coronavirus, the Golden Knights capped a 5-1 homestand Saturday night by rallying past the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2.
"We're finding ways to win games," Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said. "I can't wait until we're healthy and we can roll a full lineup out there. It's going to be on those guys coming in to jump in and continue with the foundation we're on right now."
Winger Max Pacioretty (foot injury) has resumed practicing and is nearing his return. But center William Karlsson (foot), winger Jonathan Marchessault (COVID), defenseman Shea Theodore (head), defenseman Alec Martinez (facial laceration), center Jack Eichel (neck surgery), winger William Carrier (COVID), and forward Nolan Patrick (undisclosed) are still sidelined.
"It was a super resilient effort the last few games," Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith said. "Every game there's something else happening, a little more adversity. For guys to come in and be able to contribute, it's the world for us right now."
Since starting the season 5-0-0, the Blues have fallen into a 4-6-1 funk. They have lost five of their last six games, with four of those losses coming in regulation time.
The Blues will be looking to clean up their special teams play after allowing two short-handed goals and a power-play goal Saturday night in a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.
"Our power play is very good and we had some looks but still we gave up the other way and that makes it very tough to win," Blues captain Ryan O'Reilly said. "We know we're better than that, we know we have to be smarter than that and support each other better when there's a questionable puck or something but, yeah, it makes it tough to win when you put yourself in a situation like that."
The Blues became too casual with their playmaking against Dallas, so they know what to focus on against the Golden Knights.
"Just being sharper with the puck," winger Brandon Saad said. "A lot of times when they're going to be that aggressive, when you make a few good passes, you kind of break 'em down and then you get some good looks. So we had a couple looks like that, too. A couple shots, looks at the net, rebounds. It's just that execution right off the bat, just to kind of tire them out."
The Blues are almost back to full strength, with only forward Brayden Schenn (upper-body injury) missing.
In their previous meeting this season, the Blues defeated the Golden Knights 3-1 on Oct. 20. Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner (8-6-0, 2.87 goals-against average) stopped 35 of 37 shots in that game and will likely draw the Monday start after Laurent Brossoit started Saturday,
No. 1 Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (6-5-2, 2.85 GAA) has won just one of his seven November starts, so back-up Ville Husso could be due another opportunity.
--Field Level Media