Vegas looking to build on 6-1 start
October 24, 2017 3:01 AM
by Alan Berg
The Golden Knights rollercoaster continues to thrill the home crowd at T-Mobile Arena, knocking off the Blues and Sabres this past week to run Vegas’ record to 6-1 on the season. The mark places them second in the Pacific Division, one point back of the Los Angeles Kings at 6-0-1, the one overtime loss for the Kings the difference in points.
Coming up this week the Knights end a huge home stand that featured seven straight in Vegas. The final two on the Las Vegas Boulevard bring in the Chicago Blackhawks (5-2-2) Tuesday and the Colorado Avalanche (4-4) on Friday. After that the Knights head to the east coast to battle the New York Islanders (4-3-1) Monday to kick off a six-game road trip.
Vegas vs. Chicago
GOLDEN KNIGHTS +140;
TOTAL 5.5 OVER -125/UNDER +105
The victory over the Blues last Saturday was a surprising one to some as it was one of the best teams the Knights had played, but down yet another goalie Vegas found a way to get the win in overtime.
Now it’s one of the true NHL heavyweights, the 2010, 2013, 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks at T-Mobile for the first time in history. They should be a sizable favorite in this one. Although the Knights are 6-1, they have had injuries crush the goaltenders as both star Marc-Andre Fleury and backup Malcolm Subban are on the IR with injuries. Oscar Dansk picked up his first NHL win in relief of Subban vs. St. Louis, but will have a tall task dealing with the Blackhawks offense in his first-ever start.
Chicago is led by right wing Patrick Kane, defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, and last but certainly not least captain Jonathan Toews. Knowing they are in the same conference and have a 6-1 record the Blackhawks will not take the Knights lightly. Because of Chicago’s respect and the first start of Dansk’s career I expect the Blackhawks to roll here. BLACKHAWKS -1.5
Vegas vs. Colorado
GOLDEN KNIGHTS -145;
TOTAL 5.5 OV -115/UN -105
This is an important spot for the Knights as regardless what happens with the Chicago game the Knights getting a win here would be great for their confidence heading into the six-game road swing. Colorado has been one of the doormats of the league, finishing last or second to last in the Central division the past three seasons. After eight games the Avalanche are in sixth place (second to last) again in the division.
Colorado has undergone a youth movement. The top line for the Avalanche has Sven Andrighetto at right wing, who averaged 23 games the past two seasons. Free agent acquisition, former 2012 No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Draft, Nail Yakupov, who has gone from Edmonton to St. Louis to Denver in only the past three years, rounds out the line with Colorado’s most recognizable star Matt Duchene. The trio has done well thus far with 18 points in eight games between them.
The second line features former breakout Nathan MacKinnon, 19-year-old Tyson Jost and 20-year-old Mikko Rantanen. Combined the trio has a plus-minus rating of -6, not good for your second line. But Colorado knows it’s in the rebuild stage and will have to deal with growing pains to compete down the line.
This is a matchup that really looks good on paper for the Knights. Colorado is under league average in goals at 2.9 and plays against the Knights who are fourth in the NHL in goals against at 2.4. Neither team is great on the power play, both sitting in the bottom third of the league. However Colorado is 25th to the penalty kill while Vegas sits 13th.
While I do think the Knights are probably the right side here, I lean more to the under in a defensive battle. UNDER 5.5
Monday, Oct. 30
Vegas at NY Islanders
GOLDEN KNIGHTS +130
TOTAL 5.5 OV -120/UN EVEN
The first East Coast road game for the Knights comes after seven straight in T-Mobile Arena. This is likely a spot where the Knights defense could be a little uglier than usual, having to fly cross country and beginning a long road trip.
New York has been basically an average NHL team thus far. We will learn more about what kind of team the Islanders have between now and the home game vs. Vegas. New York has superstar center John Tavares, the 2009 No. 1 overall pick, who has six points in eight games in this young season. The interesting thing for the Islanders with Tavares is he is an unrestricted free agent after this year and could be on the move midseason for a pile of draft picks and young players to build for the Islanders’ future.
This spot feels like a good game to go over the total as I mentioned the Knights could be in for a clunker defensively and they are very gritty as a unit, which could lead to some Vegas goals to get the team back into the game. OVER 5.5
Last Week: 2-0