Blues Gameday Preview: Vegas Golden Knights 12/23/22

With points in five of their last six games, going 4-1-1 in the process, the St. Louis Blues find themselves at 16-16-1 and fifth place in the Central Division with 33 points. In their 5-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Dec. 20, the team was without Jordan Kyrou. He missed the game with an upper-body injury after taking a hit into the boards following his hat trick against the Vancouver Canucks the day before, costing him the remainder of that game as well as the next in Seattle.

St. Louis Blues' Gameday Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, Justin Faulk and Jordan Binnington

For their last game before Christmas, the Blues are in Sin City tonight to take on the conference leading Vegas Golden Knights (23-11-1). After their scorching hot start to the season (16-4-1), they’ve gone 7-7 since American Thanksgiving. They’ve also been hit with their fair share of injuries and other extenuating circumstances causing key players to miss time. They’re coming off of a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 21.

Related: Blues Will Need Their Veterans to Bounce Back in 2023

The Blues lead the all-time series against the Golden Knights with a 10-5-6 record, including going 3-1-0 in 2021-22.

St. Louis Blues Projected Lineup

(Subject to change)

Forwards

Brandon Saad – Ryan O’Reilly – Josh Leivo

Pavel Buchnevich – Robert Thomas – Vladimir Tarasenko

Ivan Barbashev – Brayden Schenn – Noel Acciari

Alexey Toropchenko – Logan Brown – Tyler Pitlick


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Defense

Nick Leddy – Colton Parayko

Torey Krug – Justin Faulk

Niko Mikkola – Robert Bortuzzo

Goalie

Jordan Binnington

Kyrou Likely to Miss Another

As a result of the previously mentioned hit he took against the Canucks on Dec. 19, Jordan Kyrou looks like he will be missing his second straight game with an upper-body injury. According to Jim Thomas, the Blues writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kyrou didn’t practice with the team on Thursday, Dec. 22, casting doubt he will be in the lineup against Vegas.

Jordan Kyrou St. Louis Blues
Jordan Kyrou, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Prior to his injury, Kyrou’s first NHL hat trick against the Canucks capped off a three-game stretch where he scored six goals and nine total points. His six goals in a three-game road trip are the most in franchise history, passing Brett Hull’s previous record of five. For the season, Kyrou leads the team in goals (16) and points (32) and is currently on pace — pending injury — for 41 goals and 82 points.

Golden Knights Projected Lineup

(Subject to change)

Forwards

Mike Amadio – Chandler Stephenson – Mark Stone

Reilly Smith – William Karlsson – Jonathan Machessault

Will Carrier – Nicolas Roy – Keegan Kolesar

Phil Kessel – Jake Leschyshyn – Jonas Rondbjerg

Chandler Stephenson Vegas Golden Knights
Chandler Stephenson has 10 points in his last six games (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Defense

Alex Martinez – Alex Pietrangelo

Brayden McNabb – Daniil Miromanov

Nicolas Hague – Ben Hutton

Goalie

Logan Thompson

Pietrangelo Back With the Team

On Dec. 7, defenseman and former Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo was granted an indefinite leave of absence to tend to an illness in his family. He missed nine games before returning to the team on Dec. 17. After practice that day, he revealed that his 4-year-old daughter had developed a lesion on her brain as the result of the flu, causing her to lose her motor skills.

After more than a week in the hospital, the Pietrangelos returned home and within 48 hours their daughter was up and moving around the house once again. Rehab will continue, but medical professionals have assured them that she will make a full recovery.

Players to Watch

St. Louis Blues: Pavel Buchnevich

After missing four games from Dec. 6-12, Buchnevich has four points in his last four games. In his last 14 games, he’s posted 10 goals and 18 points overall. With the Blues missing Kyrou and his elite playmaking skills for the second straight game, the offense will need Buchnevich to help fill the gap left by his absence. For his career, he has scored just once against Vegas, which came in 2017 when he was with the New York Rangers. He’ll look to change that tonight.

Vegas Golden Knights: Mark Stone

Blues fans will forever scorn Vegas forward Mark Stone for his controversial hit on Tyler Bozak in January of last year that resulted in the former Blues center missing months of the 2020-21 regular season. The Blues got their proverbial pound of flesh when Justin Faulk and Stone dropped mitts in their next matchup. Since then, nothing has come up on the ice between Stone and the Blues.

Vegas Golden Knights Mark Stone
Mark Stone, Vegas Golden Knights (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

All of that aside, Stone is a game-changer and one of the better power forwards and net-front presences in the NHL. He has 14 goals and 28 points on the season and scored three points (two goals, one assist) on Dec. 21 in their win over the Coyotes. He’s tallied six points in the Golden Knights’ last five games.

How to Catch the Game

St. Louis Blues @ Vegas Golden Knights – 9:00 PM CT

In their final game of their five-game road trip, the Blues and Golden Knights will faceoff tonight in Vegas at 9:00 PM CT. You can catch the game on Bally Sports Midwest and Bally Sports+, while the radio broadcast will air on 101 ESPN and the Blues App.



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