Somehow, it’s taken this long for the Vegas Golden Knights to come to St. Louis. The NHL’s newest team is off to a start that hasn’t been seen by an expansion team since 1967. They’re riding an eight-game win streak and a 13 game point streak, which has helped them climb to the top of the Pacific Division standings - and the top of the Western Conference with 56 points. They’ve only played 38 games.
The last time that the Blues hosted an expansion team for the first time, it was 2001 and the Columbus Blue Jackets were wrapping up a 71 point season. For reference, the Blues finished that year with 103. This isn’t 2001.
Old friend David Perron, who was left unprotected in the NHL’s expansion draft, will be coming back to St. Louis for the first time as a Golden Knight, and he’s been a key component in their success with 9 goals and 22 assists. Jonathan Marchessault leads the team in points with 15 goals and 22 assists. He’s halfway to last year’s goal total and has surpassed his Florida assist numbers.
William Karlsson leads the Knights in goals with 20. The former Blue Jacket’s previous season high? Nine.
Something special is happening in Las Vegas. Either general manager George McPhee has assembled a team with outstanding chemistry, or coach Gerard Gallant and crew has built it. Whatever the deal, the Blues are going to need to step up their game tonight to compete. St. Louis has won three out of their last four home games, but they’ve lost eight games at Scottrade so far this season - and some of them have been significantly less than inspiring performances. Carter Hutton and Jake Allen can’t be miracle workers every night. Tage Thompson is playing better, Vladimir Sobotka has been solid, but the top scoring line is still missing Jaden Schwartz.
Thankfully, after their game on January 9th, the Blues enter their bye week, which should give Schwartz some time to heal without missing games. The team’s offense needs it.