Jordan Kyrou gets the nod for Tuesday night’s turning point in the St. Louis Blues’ 5-4 shootout victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Blues scored three times on their first seven shots on Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner, but it was far too early to believe momentum was on the visitor’s bench.
The way the previous three games played out, it was far from over.
But when Kyrou gave the Blues a 4-2 lead midway through the second period, it was at that point St. Louis’ confidence was vividly on overload.
Forget the goal for a moment, it was how Kyrou would break free, skate in on Lehner and push the Blues’ lead to two goals.
Max Pacioretty got the Golden Knights within a goal 1 minute, 42 seconds into the second period with the first of his three goals – his seventh career hat trick – and St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington continued to stand on his head, fending off hard-charging Vegas.
With 9:30 left in the period, Pacioretty spun near the top of the left circle and rang one off the goalpost, and former Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo corralled the puck near the boards and headed toward the blue line. As he spun to look for a recipient for a pass, Kyrou was aggressive on the backcheck and poked the puck into the neutral zone.
Kyrou broke free and layered his right shoulder in front of Pietrangelo as the two raced down the right side, gathered and controlled the puck, set his shot up perfectly and roofed a quick snapper to the top shelf with a shot Lehner never saw.
The young forward outracing and outmuscling one of the league’s premier defenseman – a guy who just two seasons back captained the Blues to the Stanley Cup and is now with Vegas – was awe-inspiring for St. Louis and turned out to be a much-needed goal since Pacioretty netted two more in the third period, the turning point of the game.
“It was a huge goal at the time,” said Blues forward David Perron, who scored two in regulation and one in the shootout. “It’s those goals hopefully where we can close the game a little better. He’s played excellent; he’s deserving of the chances he’s getting, as well as the opportunities.”