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Updated Blues at Golden Knights Preview: Sanford with the team

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The forward stays on the COVID-19 protocol list and did not travel with the team.

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

UPDATE: Thankfully, it turns out Sanford kicked back a false positive. He’ll be in tonight, but Bozak is still out.

After stringing together two wins in a row against the San Jose Sharks, the Blues are still in fourth place in the West, and the Vegas Golden Knights continue to put distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. Right now, the Golden Knights sit three points over the second place Avalanche and six ahead of the Wild and Blues, who are in third and fourth place, respectively.

So yes, the Blues can make up some ground tonight and better position themselves to leapfrog the Wild on Thursday. The Blues are making up missed games against their opponents, and the next two are key teams to beat. After a two game series against Anaheim on Friday and Sunday, every Blues game in April save for April 17th’s game against the Coyotes and two games against the Ducks in May are against either Vegas, Minnesota, or Colorado.

The schedule just hit the fan for the Blues.

Helping is that Jaden Schwartz is healthy and back in the lineup - the team’s defense looked night and day better than they have as of late in both wins against the Sharks. Even with the absence of Tyler Bozak and Oskar Sundqvist on Saturday night, the team still put in a solid defensive performance.

Zach Sanford will be in San Jose until he clears the COVID-19 protocol, so he is also out for the evening. Sundqvist is out for the rest of the season. Bozak is a question mark for tonight.

Whoever they ice, the Blues are going to have to step up against Vegas. Either they leave this weekend with a very easily dealt with two point deficit against the West’s top team, or it’s a bigger gulf. Holding the Golden Knights’ offense off of the scoresheet is going to be difficult, but also a necessity. Vegas has 14 goals in three games against the Blues. The Blues have 10 goals in three games, which isn’t exactly a slouch performance either, but they scored only one the last time these two teams met on March 13th. Vegas took that meeting 5-1.