LAS VEGAS -- The question that hung over the St. Louis Blues going into their game Thursday against Vegas was how the team would handle their first game since teammate Jay Bouwmeester collapsed on the bench on Tuesday in Anaheim, Calif.
Zach Sanford was clearly ready.
Sanford scored four goals, giving him his first career hat trick and making him the first Blue to score four since David Backes in 2015, but the Blues gave up four power-play goals, including one in overtime, as the Golden Knights won 6-5 on Thursday in Las Vegas.
Jonathan Marchessault got his second goal of the night in overtime after Jaden Schwartz was called for hooking on a Marchessault breakaway. That set up the Golden Knights for another chance, and they took advantage of it, scoring for the fourth time in five power plays.
The Blues held on to first place in the Central Division because Colorado lost to Washington. The Blues got a point, so they're two points up on the Avalanche.
The Blues took a 4-3 lead into the third but Nate Schmidt tied it on Vegas' third power-play goal of the game 6:33 into the period. Sanford, though, put the Blues back in the lead with his fourth goal (and sixth in four games), setting up near the post and putting in a pass from Colton Parayko, giving him 12 on the season. At the start of February, he had six goals.
Alex Tuch scored a rare even-strength goal for Vegas with 4:40 to play to tie the game.
Sanford had two goals last Tuesday against Carolina and has eight goals in eight games since the All-Star break. It was the quickest hat trick for a Blue since Al MacInnis scored three times in the first period on Oct. 12, 1998. Backes had four goals against Arizona on Jan. 6, 2015.
Jordan Binnington was very busy in net, facing 52 shots, at least 14 in each full period and seven shots in 21/2 minutes of overtime. If not for Binnington's play in goal, the Blues wouldn't have gotten to overtime.
It took just 25 seconds for Sanford to score in the first, firing in a wrist shot from the left dot for the quickest goal for the Blues this season.