Offense explodes as Golden Knights blow out Blues, end losing streak

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Vegas Golden Knights’ Tomas Nosek, left, celebrates after scoring past St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso (35) and Vince Dunn (29) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 5, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Published Mon, Apr 5, 2021 (7:34 p.m.)

Updated Mon, Apr 5, 2021 (8:45 p.m.)

The Golden Knights scored just five goals in their three-game losing streak last week. They had more than that by the end of the second period Monday.

Vegas snapped a losing streak and exploded in a big way offensively, setting a season-high in goals in a 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center.

Fifteen Golden Knights skaters registered a point, a team record for a game. Alec Martinez had a pair of goals, Keegan Kolesar had a pair of assists and William Carrier had one of each.

“Obviously the past three games we were kind of disappointed in the offensive side,” forward Jonathan Marchessault said. “All four lines contributed tonight and a couple ‘Ds’ making good plays and good shots back there. Good team win.”

It was clear early on that things were going Vegas' way. The team has spent the season emphasizing traffic in front of the opposing net, particularly after that was the narrative following last year's playoff exit.

Tomas Nosek redirected a Nick Holden shot at the 6:25 mark and Martinez worked a point wrister around a Max Pacioretty screen six minutes later, giving the Golden Knights two first-period goals as the direct result of action in front of the crease. Ryan Reaves set a screen on Nicolas Hague's second-period goal as well.

“If the goalie sees the shots that we’re taking from the blue line, it’s likely not going to go in,” Hague said. “So for the forwards to get there, whether it’s a screen and it goes in or they get a tip on it or a bounce on a second chance, that’s a great way for us to create offense as a team, and I think you saw that tonight.”

The second period was all Golden Knights. They entered the frame with a 2-1 lead and scored two goals 32 seconds apart about seven minutes in. Martinez scored his second of the game, then Carrier, then Marchessault 1:27 after that and Hague four minutes later. All four goals came in a span of six minutes and put Vegas on top 6-1.

On the other end, Robin Lehner made 31 saves to pick up the victory, his fifth straight outing allowing two or fewer goals, all since returning from a concussion on March 19.

“He practiced really well and I think has looked as good as he’s ever looked recently,” coach Pete DeBoer said.

Scoring against the Blues hasn't been an issue this season. The Golden Knights' six on Monday gave them 25 in five games against St. Louis this season, the most against any opponent. They have scored at least four in every game against the Blues this year.

Going to St. Louis was also special for former Blues captain and current Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. He was injured when Vegas took its first trip to St. Louis this year, and did not make the trip.

Pietrangelo joked after morning skate that he wasn’t quite sure where to go, having spent 12 years with the Blues and having never been to Enterprise Center as a visitor. He also said he was touched by the Blues’ tribute video they played in the first period, considering his wife and kids, who are all from St. Louis, were in the stands. He finished with an assist, five shot attempts and a plus-2 rating in 22:57 of ice time.

“It’s harder before the game, the emotions, but once you get in the game and start playing you kind of push all that aside,” Pietrangelo said.

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