The Vegas Golden Knights won the first game of the mini-series against the Blues 5-1 in a decisive victory and a reminder of how the two teams have moved in opposite directions since the season started. The Blues are in the midst of a big losing streak that has not only put their season in jeopardy but has also left them on the outside of the playoff picture in the West Division as they now trail the Coyotes and the Sharks. The Blues hope that they can even the series against Vegas but more importantly, salvage their season.
Golden Knights are winning games with great defenseThe Vegas Golden Knights have won 25 of their 37 games this season for the second-best record in the West Division. The main reason for the team's success has been their defense, which is only surrendering 2.2 goals per game. Alex Martinez is having a Norris Trophy caliber season, with 3 defensive point shares and 118 blocked shots but Shea Theodore and Nicolas Hague have combined for 2.9 defensive point shares and 73 blocked shots to give the Golden Knights depth on the unit. In addition, Marc-Andre Fleury is having a great season allowing only 2.1 goals per game and is saving .924 percent of shots.
marchy marchy marchy pic.twitter.com/FPBUo2VWlW— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 6, 2021
While the defense has led the way, the offense has proven to have more than enough firepower, scoring 3.2 goals per game and 5 goals scorers with 10 or more on the season. Max Pacioretty has led the way with 18 goals while Alex Tuch and Mark Stone have combined for 25 goals this season. In addition, the defensive pairing of Martinez and Theodore has contributed 13 goals and 38 assists to add to the potent offense.
Blues offense has fallen flatThe St. Louis Blues have lost their last 7 games to fall to 6th place in the West Division. The team has struggled across the board but has been particularly bad on the offensive end, scoring only 2.6 goals per game. David Perron and Ryan O'Reilly have scored 13 goals each but the lack of scoring depth has truly costed the Blues with only 4 skaters with 10 goals or more.
In addition to the Blues struggling offensively, the defense has played poorly in large part to the depth struggles, allowing 3.2 goals per game. Torey Krug and Justin Faulk have played well this season, combining for 4.5 defensive point shares and 102 blocked shots but the rest of the defense is constantly allowing open and easy shots. In addition, backup goaltender Ville Husso is allowing 3.5 goals per game and is saving less than .900 percent of shots.