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FSM Essential Recap: Golden Knights vs Blues – Game 82

Franchise Sports Media

Golden Knights (43-31-8)  | St. Louis Blues (49-22-11)


The Golden Knights closed out their disappointing season with a 7-4 victory against the Blues.


Golden Knights vs Blues
Photo Credit: Christopher Mast/NHLI/Getty Images

It has been a tough week, month, and season for the Vegas Golden Knights, but the club wrapped up a frustrating 2021-22 campaign with a seven-goal outburst, defeating the St. Louis Blues 7-4 at the Enterprise Center.

The Golden Knights were coming off three consecutive shootout losses, which ended Vegas’ playoff hopes. Vegas was eliminated on Wednesday, and though it technically became official once Dallas reached overtime against Arizona, the Golden Knights proceeded to drop their third straight skills competition to leave no room for doubt.

The Golden Knights went a combined 0-for-17 in the shootout against San Jose, Dallas, and Chicago. But the regular-season finale did not end up in a shootout; it didn’t even require extra time. Instead, six Golden Knights skaters combined for seven goals en route to winning No. 43 of the year.

Though the two clubs ultimately combined for 11 goals, it was a 1-1 game after one and a 3-3 contest after two. None other than Captain Mark Stone opened the scoring on the power play late in the first period, netting his ninth of the year and first since Feb 1. But former Golden Knights forward David Perron erased that lead 2:24 later with a rebound goal of his own. It was his 27th of the season and sixth career goal against Vegas.

Ryan O’Reilly scored just under five minutes in to give St. Louis its first lead of the night. The Blues center got in behind Logan Thompson, skated through the crease, and scored on a backhand to become the ninth member of the Blues to hit the 20-goal plateau.

Just over nine minutes into the period, Jack Eichel scored on a deflection to make it 2-2. The goal snapped Eichel’s six-game drought and was the first of two goals on the night.

Golden Knights vs Blues
Photo Credit: Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

St. Louis and Vegas exchanged another pair of goals before the buzzer sounded on the second. First, Jordan Kyrou put St. Louis back up by one just 3:16 after Eichel’s equalizer. But Zach Whitecloud responded with a beauty just over three minutes later, spinning in the zone before beating Blues netminder Ville Husso top-shelf from a sharp angle near the goal line.

The Misfit Line scored back-to-back goals to put Vegas up by two for the first time in the game. William Karlsson fired a short-side laser past Husso to give the Golden Knights a 4-3 edge just 3:20 into the third. Jonathan Marchessault tallied the lone assist on the play.

Marchessault followed suit with his own goal to make it 5-3, finally potting his 30th of the year after going six games without lighting the lamp. However, the Blues made things interesting as O’Reilly netted his second of the night just seven seconds into a St. Louis power play. But this game was not destined for a shootout, as the Golden Knights scored two more later in the frame in the span of 1:56.

Eichel, who had just one assist in the six games leading up to Friday’s finale, recorded his second goal and third point of the game to make it 6-4 with 4:12 remaining in regulation. Eichel’s one-timer from the slot was his 14th goal in 34 games since his Golden Knights debut on Feb. 16.

Max Pacioretty added an empty-net tally for good measure for the 7-4 final. By no means was the victory any consolation, though there were a few positive takeaways.

For one thing, Thompson finally got some goal support after suffering three straight shootout losses despite turning out stellar performances. He wasn’t his usual sharp self, but that’s understandable given the pressure and workload he’s carried this week. He finished the game with 14 saves on 18 shots for a .778 save percentage but picked up his 10th win of the season.

Also, it can’t hurt the overall team psyche for certain players (i.e., Stone, Eichel, etc.) to finally break through, end droughts, and have something positive to take out of this slide. That includes Marchessault, who finally hit the 30-goal threshold, doing so for the second time in his career. None of that makes up for the fact that Vegas controlled its playoff destiny ahead of last Sunday’s game and now will miss the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

In the case of Stone and especially Eichel, those goals were very much needed yet nowhere to be found earlier this week when the games meant everything, not in the one game that meant nothing. Eichel went 0-for-3 in the shootouts but finished the lopsided win with three points.

Eichel, Stone, Karlsson, and Marchessault combined for three assists in the three losses suffered earlier this week but managed a collective eight points against the Blues. But the 2021-22 campaign, the brutal ride of tough breaks and missed opportunities, is finally over. This week was particularly crushing, but the team’s collapse has been an ongoing process, and it’s something that can’t be pinned on a few players.

But it will be addressed in the offseason.

What that means for the core of this team and the coaching staff and front office remains to be seen. The decision-makers, including owner Bill Foley, have some explaining to do for on-the-ice and off-the-ice mismanagement. Significant changes may not be in the cards given the plethora of injuries, but that excuse can only go so far. One thing is sure: Golden Knights hockey’s future is up in the air.

In the end, the Golden Knights finished 2021-22 with a 43-31-8 record and 94 points after entering the season with Stanley Cup aspirations and a “Cup-or-bust” mentality. It’s safe to say that Year 5 was a bust.

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-DJ Wood– Franchise Sports Media

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