The Golden Knights’ West Division banner should come with a special inscription if the team holds on to win the title.
“Brought to you by three-on-three.”
The Knights are in the driver’s seat in the West because they’ve been impossible to beat in overtime. Friday’s 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues at T-Mobile Arena improved their record to 9-0 when a game is decided by three-on-three.
The second-place Colorado Avalanche are 4-3 and the third-place Minnesota Wild 6-4. The Knights’ extra wins are one reason they’re four points clear of Colorado and five of Minnesota.
“I don’t know what it is,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “It’s definitely not coaching or practice because we haven’t done either this year. The guys just got a confidence level early when we scored some goals in overtime early and got some saves at the right time. Now it’s almost an expectation when they hop over the boards that we’re going to get a win.”
The Knights are comfortable at three-on-three despite how frenetic overtimes can be.
Friday’s featured several scoring chances both ways before left wing Jonathan Marchessault ended the game with 17.7 seconds remaining.
Goaltender Robin Lehner made three saves, including stopping a breakaway by Mike Hoffman and a two-on-one with Robert Thomas. The Knights never blinked.
Friday was their second overtime victory over the Blues and fifth against another playoff team. Those extra points have put them in a position to secure home ice advantage in the first two rounds of the postseason and possibly beyond.
“We’ve been great in overtime all year,” defenseman Nic Hague said. “(Marchessault) gets a break there and buries it. It’s pretty exciting and definitely nice to get that win.”
Here are three other takeaways from the win:
1. Krebs’ home debut
It was hard not to notice Knights rookie Peyton Krebs in his first game at T-Mobile Arena.
The 20-year-old’s easy stride stood out. His vision was impressive. His spark prompted DeBoer to move him from third-line center to first-line left wing between the first and second period.
DeBoer said the switch was made because he wanted to see how Krebs, who is a left-shot but can play all three forward positions, looked on the wing before the playoffs. He contributed to a goal when he screened goaltender Jordan Binnington on defenseman Alec Martinez’s point shot late in the second period.
Krebs played 14:56, including 1:15 on the power play. His ice time has gone up in each of his first three games.
“I can’t say enough about that guy and how he’s stepped in and made a big impact on our club,” Martinez said.
2. Hague contributes
Hague had gone 15 games without a point before Friday’s game.
He broke that rut in a major way. Hague had two assists for the fourth multipoint game of his career and earned them by being aggressive. He set up right wing Reilly Smith for the Knights’ first goal by coming off the blue line and making himself available in the middle of the ice.
He helped on the team’s game-tying goal in the third period by going to the net and creating chaos with his 6-foot-6-inch frame.
“As D men, we’re always looking to be more involved,” Hague said. “We try to be involved as much as we can. That’s kind of our mindset and my mindset every night.”
3. Rare shorty
Blues center Ryan O’Reilly scored a short-handed goal in the first period, the second one the Knights have allowed this season.
That’s tied for the third-fewest in the NHL. St. Louis and the New York Islanders have allowed none. The Knights’ other short-handed goal allowed was Jan. 18 in the third game of the season against the Arizona Coyotes.