Nobody was sure what to expect from the Vegas Golden Knights Wednesday as they returned to play after five days off and minus their top two scorers. They were sloppy in their own end for long stretches and unlucky in their opponent’s end.
But as is typical when the Knights face the St. Louis Blues, it was a closely contested contest with the Blues getting a third-period goal from Vladimir Tarasenko to break a 1-1 tie and go on to defeat the Knights 3-1. For the Blues, it was an historic night as they won three straight games on the rad to open the season for the first time in franchise history.
The Knights suffered yet another injury as defenseman Alec Martinez went into the boards hard after being tripped by Klim Kostin in the third period and did not return.
Coach Peter DeBoer said after the game he didn’t have an update on Martinez as the defenseman was being evaluated by the team’s medical staff. DeBoer said he hoped to have more information Thursday.
Three takeaways from Wednesday’s game:
1. Lehner locked in: Robin Lehner may not have been on the ice for the morning skate but he was ready when they dropped the puck. It was one of his best performances in a Golden Knights uniform as he was locked in. Lehner finished with 35 saves.
“He was our best player,” William Karlsson, who scored the lone Vegas goal, said of Lehner.
Just as impressive was Jordan Binnington in the St. Louis net. He came up big on numerous occasions to keep the Blues in it and finished with 42 saves.
2. Perron still kills Vegas: The former original Golden Knight assisted on Brandon Saad’s second-period goal as Perron continues to find ways to haunt his former team. He has five gals and five assists in 15 games vs. the Knights since leaving after the inaugural season of 2917-18.
3. Low scoring, as predicted: With Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty out, goals were going to be hard to come by and DeBoer said they’ve got to find ways to win those kind of games. Instead, a 3-on-0 off a turnover led to Vladimir Tarasenko getting the go-ahead goal for St. Louis. The Knights’ defensemen were jumping into the attack all night hoping to help generate some offense. Instead, they got burned being caught out of position and there was nothing Lehner could do.
“We need a better mindset,” said forward Reilly Smith. “I think it’s about attention to detail and working hard. We gave up 10 Grade-A chances in the first period and we shouldn’t give up that many in an entire game. We have to treat these games like the playoffs.”
Up next: Friday vs. Edmonton Oilers.