Updated: May 22, 2021
For the second time in as many nights, the Vegas Golden Knights topped the St. Louis Blues on a career night for right-wing Reilly Smith, who recorded his first hat trick in a 4-1 victory.
The win marked the eighth and final time the Knights and Blues will meet in the regular season, although it appears the two teams will meet in the first round of the postseason. The Knights won the series, 6-2.
Vegas moves to 39-12-2 on the season.
“This was an important game,” head coach Peter DeBoer told ESPN. “We talked a month ago about making sure when we got Colorado to town at the end of the season that that game meant something. We’ve done a lot of work over the last five, six weeks to make it happen, and we did.”
Smith’s hat trick provided three of Vegas’ four goals on the dominating night from the Knights.
His first two came off of rebounds following blocked shots from St. Louis’ Ville Husso.
Smith’s third was on an empty-net.
The other goal scorer was center Chandler Stephenson. Stephenson found Smith and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo on a two-on-one fastbreak following a St. Louis giveaway.
Pietrangelo faked out the St. Louis defender before sweeping the puck ahead to Stephenson who finished the play off.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had a relatively quiet, but effective night for Vegas.
His name wasn’t called often because of the Knight’s suffocating play on the puck all night.
Fleury finished with 20 saves on 21 shots.
It was an all-around solid performance for the Knights on the second night of a tough back-to-back, especially for Smith.
“It took me over 600 games to get a hat trick,” Smith told ESPN. “It’s obviously a big moment for me and I’m happy about it, but there’s a lot of guys who helped me put the puck in the back of the net.”
Although the team was pleased with its effort, a much bigger game is looming on the horizon for the Knights in the form of the second-place Colorado Avalanche.
Colorado trails Vegas by four points (80-76) for first-place in the West Division standings.
The two teams will clash at the T-Mobile Arena Monday, May 10.
Vegas will be without star forward Max Pacioretty yet again as he is expected to miss his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury.
It will be a tall task for the surging Knights, but an important one.
Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.