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Blues at Golden Knights Preview: Focus on the game

The Blues could be forgiven if their minds are elsewhere tonight.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

With Jay Bouwmeester still recovering in hospital, the Blues traveled to Las Vegas on Wednesday. Tonight they square off against the Vegas Golden Knights, who you may remember they had a hell of a time with back on January 4th. Jake Allen was in net that night and was apparently confused as to what team Ryan Reaves and Paul Stastny played for. The Blues jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the two former teammates of Allen scored in quick succession in the second period, knocking the wheels off of the Blues’ bus and leading to a 5-4 overtime loss. Even David Perron’s last minute heroics to get the team to extra time wasn’t enough to inspire the team against a Vegas team with no quit.

Tonight the Blues have a very different inspiration: Bouwmeester. This will be their first game since Bouwmeester’s cardiac incident in Anaheim, and it would be understandable if their focus was elsewhere tonight. Unfortunately, they don’t have much time on their schedule for mental health days. They’re leading the Avalanche in the Central by just one point now, and the Blues have been mired in a slump that stretches back to before the All-Star Game. Winning one for JayBo would be a nice way to start trending upward for the team.

Vegas was surprisingly shut-out 4-0 by the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was yanked in favor of Malcom Subban. Fleury should be back with a vengeance tonight to bounce back. Vegas has lost three out of their last four games.

Luckily, the Blues have yet to lose in regulation to Vegas. Since the Golden Knights were welcomed into the NHL in 2017, the Blues are a 5-0-3 against the new team. Tonight they can close the season series out with a 2-0-1 record and bump that up a notch.

A win against a tough Vegas team would be far more than a moral victory for the Blues right now.