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Blues excited for first-ever game in Vegas

by Chris Pinkert / Notes by Dan O'Neill

LAS VEGAS - Which team will score first?

Will there be a goal in the first 10 minutes?

Will there be overtime?

Which player will have more points AND shots on goal - Vladimir Tarasenko or James Neal?

If you felt so inclined, those are just a few of the scenarios you could bet on in Las Vegas when the Blues meet the Golden Knights for the first time in history at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night (9:30 p.m. CT, FSMW, FSGO, KMOX 1120 AM).

Of course, the Blues aren't getting caught up in the distractions Vegas might offer, or what the odds might say about any of those scenarios. Instead, they just want to get two points and go home.

"We're here to play hockey," Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "You get off the plane and we all know how exciting it can be to see all the sights and it's a new location for us, but you step inside the arena and it's hockey, so we better be ready tonight."

"It's obviously different (coming to Vegas)," said Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo. "On the off day, you have the opportunity to walk the Strip, and for some of the guys who haven't been here, they see what it's all about. But you come (to T-Mobile Arena) today and it's business as usual.

Video: Pietrangelo on facing Golden Knights

"It's fun with expansion teams," Pietrangelo added. "This city has been through a lot recently and so the energy in the building is obviously going to be high. This team is bringing the city together right now in a time that they need it. We need to make sure to expect a good effort."

Tonight's game will be the Blues' ninth of the season - seven of those games have been on the road. Despite the busy schedule away from Scottrade Center, the Blues have started hot and currently sit in first place in the Western Conference with a 6-2-0 record (12 points).

The Golden Knights have started the season 5-1-0, which ties a mark set by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1917-18 season as the best start of any team in its first season in the League. Vegas is also the first expansion team to ever start 3-0.

Neal, selected from the Nashville Predators in the expansion draft in June, leads the Golden Knights with six goals in six games. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is out with an injury, leaving the goaltending duties to Malcolm Subban, who the Golden Knights acquired on waivers on Oct. 3. Subban has played in two games since Fleury's injury, going 2-0 with a 2.42 goals-against average and a .911 save-percentage.

Video: Yeo on facing Golden Knights

"We met a bunch of St. Louis Blues fans on the street that are all excited for the game," said Blues forward Scottie Upshall. "Most of us have friends and family that made the trip down, but you're here for business. You're here to get two points. (Vegas) has had a great start and is catching some teams by surprise. Their makeup is very unique, but we're excited and we like the way we're going.

"Tonight's a big game."

BLUE NOTES

The last time the Blues faced an expansion team was April 5, 2001 when they beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 at Scottrade Center.

Jaden Schwartz ranks third in the League in points, registering six goals and six assists in eight games. Only Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov have more.

Robert Bortuzzo, who scored the game-winning goal Thursday against Colorado, will play his 100th game as a Blue tonight.

The Blues have scored first in five of their eight games this season and are 4-1-0 in those games.

Joel Edmundson leads the NHL with 28 blocked shots.

Video: Pang and Kerber preview Blues vs. Golden Knights

David Perron, who was selected by the Golden Knights in the expansion draft, ranks second on the Vegas club with five points (two goals, three assists) in six games this season. Perron played in two separate stints with the Blues, registering 244 points in 422 games.

The Blues have nine goals from defensemen this season, including at least one from each defenseman that has dressed in a game thus far.

Paul Stastny recorded a goal and an assist on Thursday against Colorado, notching career points No. 600 and 601. Stastny is the 36th active player to reach the 600-point milestone.

Alex Pietrangelo ranks second in the League among defenseman with 10 points.

Vladimir Tarasenko has points in four straight games (two goals, three assists).

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