The Vegas Golden Knights won’t have to wait for holiday season to hit its apex for gifts, seeing that the Golden Knights don’t have to head out on the road until after Christmas.
Vegas comes into Tuesday’s game vs. the Carolina Hurricanes on a four-game win streak, keeping pace with the red hot Pacific Division leader Los Angeles Kings in the midst of an eight-game winning streak. With a win over Carolina, the Knights will have had three five-game win streaks this season! That would be an unbelievable accomplishment before the turn of the year for any team, let alone an expansion team!
Quite possibly the best news came Sunday when it was announced No. 1 goaltender and expansion draft darling Marc Andre-Fleury is ready to return from a concussion suffered on October 13 vs. Detroit. Word is he could be in net against the Hurricanes.
Here are your current Top 4 in the Pacific Division: Kings 20-8-3 (43 points); Knights 19-9-1 (39); San Jose Sharks 16-10-3 (35); Calgary Flames 16-12-2 (34).
Carolina at Vegas
Projected Line: HURRICANES +150, KNIGHTS -170
When looking at Carolina’s record this season you will see the high amount of overtime losses (7) tied for first in the NHL. Defensively the Hurricanes haven’t been terrible, sitting at 18th in goals against average, but have been one of the league’s worst offensive teams at 23rd in goals scored. The main culprit has been special teams; the Hurricanes are 29th vs. the power play, while only 27th on their own man advantage.
On paper this looks like an easy one, but after two tough road wins, I think the Knights will have to be cautious here. The nice thing is the return of Fleury to the lineup should be enough of an emotional boost to send the win streak to five. KNIGHTS
Pittsburgh at Vegas
Projected Line: PENGUINS -130, KNIGHTS +110
There is no question the Golden Knights’ success has been the early story of the NHL season. Another surprise might be the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins sitting tied for fourth in the Metropolitan Division with the New York Islanders.
This is still the Penguins (16-12-3) and I would be surprised if Pittsburgh isn’t the favorite here, and I might even be leaving the line a little short. The Pens have had goalie issues of its own, starter Matt Murray went down and was replaced by Antti Niemi, a disaster losing all three starts. Niemi’s play forced the Penguins to play talented, but green 22-year-old netminder Tristan Jarry, who has gone 5-1-2 and seems to have stabilized the position.
The Penguins need to make up ground in the division. PENGUINS
Florida at Vegas
Projected Line: PANTHERS +140, KNIGHTS -160
VGK coach Gerard Gallant looks to defeat his former team, Florida, at home at T-Mobile Arena. Gallant, surprisingly took the Panthers to the club record 103 points in the 2015-16 season but was fired the following fall.
Florida (11-14-4) currently is tied with the Edmonton Oilers for the fourth fewest points in the entire league. The No. 1 reason for their struggles has been defense as the Panthers are 31st in the NHL in goals allowed. Also, No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo went down with an injury and backup James Reimer has been abysmal in relief. KNIGHTS -1.5
Last Week: 2-1