Following a lower-body injury sustained on Nov. 27 in Tampa Bay, Oskar Sundqvist made his return to the lineup against the Vegas Golden Knights Thursday night after missing six games.
Sundqvist, 8-4—12 through 26 games this season did not take long to get involved in Thursday night’s match-up against Vegas and was arguably St. Louis’ best player against their Western Conference foe.
At 4:52 into the first period, Mackenzie MacEachern notched his fifth of the season with Sundqvist picking up the secondary assist and his fifth of the year.
The Knights responded with a goal 25 seconds later by Max Pacioretty, in which Jordan Binnington stopped the initial shot on the partial break, but was not able to control the rebound.
Vegas wasn’t done, though, making it 2-1 before the end of the first. All was about to change going into the second period after a lackluster opening frame.
Sundqvist, who has been the Blues’ hardest player night in and night out this season, got back onto the board after a great deflection and tied the game just 1:34 into the second. This would be the spark the Blues had missed after dropping three in a row to Pittsburgh, Toronto and Buffalo.
Late in the second, Jaden Schwartz scored his ninth of the season to put the Blues ahead and gave them their second lead of the night.
Thirty-nine seconds later, Robert Thomas would make it 4-2 for St. Louis, putting one past Marc-Andre Fleury and capping off a great offensive period for the Blues — Their best period in recent play outshooting the Knights 17-8.
Sundqvist started this all though, with great energy throughout the game, generating chances, chasing pucks and overall bringing about confidence to the team. He was all over the ice all night.
It’s ironic as well, in a game that Sundqvist played against the player that he was originally traded for, Ryan Reaves, the Swedish forward had one of his best career games.
Logging 16:35 minutes of ice time, a goal and an assist, Sundqvist’s return was significant and helped the Blues to get back into the win column with a 4-2 win over Vegas.
While it is only one previously injured player back into the lineup, Sundqvist was feasibly the most missed player other than Vladimir Tarasenko. It goes to show how much one player can impact a team — It is still surprising to me that this is the type of player that he turned out to be.
A 2016 Cup champion with the Penguins who failed post a point in two playoff games played, turned key player for the Blues who posted four goals and five assists in their championship run last season, continues to be a major contributor this season.
He is not Vladimir Tarasenko, he is not St. Louis’ Conn Smythe winner but instead Sundqvist is a player who puts forth his full effort every night and helps to hold the group together.
I think I’ll be having my eggs sunny-side up in the morning.