Two of the hottest teams in the NHL face off on Monday night when the defending Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights open a two-game road trip against the St. Louis Blues.
The Golden Knights suffered just their second loss in 12 games and had a four-game winning streak snapped Saturday night with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings. The Blues meanwhile improved to 4-0-1 in their last five games with a 4-3 home win over Tampa Bay, snapping the Lightning's seven-game winning streak in the process.
St. Louis, which carries a three-game win streak into the contest and is 10-2 in its last 12 games at the Enterprise Center, is in third place in the Central Division but is just two points behind second place Nashville with a game in hand.
"It's huge. It's huge for team confidence," Brayden Schenn, who scored the game-winner with a highlight-reel, no look, between-the-legs shot, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch when asked about the Blues sweeping their series with Tampa Bay. "They're a very good team, playing great hockey, winning a lot of games, scoring a lot of goals. For us to come in and beat them two times this year, obviously gives the team confidence and we know we're a good team in here."
St. Louis also defeated Tampa Bay, which has already wrapped up the President's Trophy with 120 points, 1-0 in overtime in Florida earlier this season.
Rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington, who had 39 saves in Saturday night's win over the Lightning, has helped key the team's run. He improved his record to 20-4-1 which is just two wins shy of the Blues' rookie record set by Jake Allen in 2014-15.
The Blues are 16-8-3 against the top 10 teams in the NHL.
"I told the guys before the game, 'That's a good team over there. We're a good team. You should go out and play like you're a good team against a good team,'" coach Craig Berube said. "And we did. ... That's a good team over there. They're very good with the puck and they can make plays and they capitalized. (Binnington) did a great job of keeping us in there."
Vegas, which is five points behind second place San Jose in the Pacific Division with seven games remaining in the battle for home ice in the Stanley Cup playoffs, will try to bounce back from just its second loss since the Feb. 25 trading deadline. Anthony Mantha scored the game-winner for the Red Wings just 19 seconds into overtime following a turnover by Reilly Smith in front of the Vegas net.
"I agree (the team's energy) was flat at the start of the game and then there was a little bit of lowness in the second period again," Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. "So, I didn't think we played that horrible, but I didn't think we had the energy at the jump. Detroit played fast. They played a really good hard game and they probably deserved the two points."
This is the third of three regular-season meetings between the two teams. St. Louis has won each of the first two, 5-3 in St. Louis on Nov. 1 and 4-1 in Las Vegas on Nov. 16.
--Field Level Media