Updated April 5, 2021 - 9:53 pm
This is not the first time Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer has challenged his team to get bodies to the net and generate offense around the crease as a means of ending a scoring slump.
The message seemed to hit home a little more Monday.
The Knights flooded the front of the net with traffic, and the result was a season high in goals during a 6-1 rout of the reeling Blues at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.
Defenseman Alec Martinez scored twice and a franchise-record 15 players recorded at least one point as the Knights ended a three-game winless skid in convincing fashion.
“We did a lot of good things against Minnesota the past couple games, but one thing we had to improve on was obviously getting to the net and creating opportunities,” Martinez said. “I think it was definitely a focus that guys took going into tonight’s game. The forwards did one heck of a job getting there, and those are the reasons why those are able to go in.”
The Knights (25-10-2, 52 points) scored four times in the second period, including three goals 1:59 apart to chase St. Louis starter Ville Husso and moved four points ahead of Minnesota for second place in the West Division.
Jonathan Marchessault put the Knights ahead 5-1 in the second period when he banked a shot from behind the goal line off Husso’s shoulder for his 10th goal and second in the past 13 games.
William Carrier added a goal and an assist, and defenseman Nic Hague also scored in his return after missing the previous game. Keegan Kolesar finished with two assists.
“We seemed like we were a little more relaxed in terms of making the plays that we wanted to make, and those resulted in goals,” said defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who picked up an assist in his return to St. Louis. “Obviously, it was a topic of conversation going into the game of how to generate a bit more and capitalize on those quality opportunities, and we did that.”
Tomas Nosek continued his recent hot streak, tipping in defenseman Nick Holden’s shot at 6:25 of the first period for his 10th point in the past 11 games. Nosek was hit in the face by a shot with 13:30 remaining in the second and went to the locker room before he returned late in the period.
Cody Glass, Shea Theodore and Ryan Reaves, who was back in the lineup after a three-game absence, were the only skaters without a point.
“We needed to score some goals,” DeBoer said. “I think after the last couple games, there was some frustration.”
Goalie Robin Lehner won for the fourth time in five starts since he returned from a concussion. He made three key stops in the first period when St. Louis pressured early, including a pad save after Jaden Schwartz danced through the Knights’ defense.
The Blues, who had defenseman Colton Parayko in the lineup for the first time since Feb. 15, fell five points out of a playoff spot and are winless in their past seven games (0-6-1).
Martinez’s first goal put the Knights ahead 2-0 when his shot from the point was aided by a screen from Max Pacioretty.
Carrier converted on the doorstep after a feed from Pietrangelo for a 4-1 lead, and Hague capped the scoring at the 13-minute mark of the second period when his long drive went through a screen from Reaves.
“We wanted to get rewarded for going to those areas,” DeBoer said. “I thought it was a perfect game for that, especially the first couple goals. Screens in front, tips. That’s got to become part of our DNA every night as a team. Especially this time of year.”