A heavyweight lineup heads to T-Mobile
December 19, 2017 3:08 AM
by Alan Berg
A light week coming up for the Golden Knights after taking down the Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers here in Vegas for a two-game win streak.
Vegas hosts the NHL’s leaders in points (50 - 24-6-2), the Tampa Bay Lightning, on Tuesday and will get a few days off before heading back inside T-Mobile Arena on Saturday to battle the Washington Capitals, the current leaders of the Metropolitan Division with 43 points.
Oh and by the way, thanks to a three-game losing streak by the Los Angeles Kings the Knights again find themselves sharing the Pacific Division lead with the Kings at 44 points. The Knights have played two less games than LA giving them the advantage.
Tampa Bay at Vegas
Projected line: Lightning -140, Knights +120
Another great test for the Golden Knights as the league-leading Lightning make their first trip to Vegas. Led by a lethal offense, Tampa Bay owns the No. 1 goal scoring unit in the league at 3.81 and the No. 1 power play unit at 27.4%. Tampa has thus far looked like the best team in the NHL.
Amazingly Nikita Kucherov and teammate Steven Stamkos are No. 1-2 in points leaders with 46 and 43, respectively. No other player currently has more than 40. The good news for Vegas is they are No. 3 in goal scoring at 3.44 but interestingly have only been 21st on the power play.
Now, I think any great coach would tell you the game is won 5-on-5 and it’s hard to see any team that has done that better than the Knights. They just have stay out of the penalty box. Vegas should be able to hang offensively. Even if the Knights do that they will have to get past goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who leads in the NHL in wins with 21. With that said, I don’t really care for the side in this one so let’s take a shot on the total. OVER
Washington at Vegas
Projective line: Capitals -135, Knights +115
The Lightning game the prior Tuesday should give the Knights a great test defensively, which should prepare them for this matchup. While they haven’t been as explosive as Tampa, Washington has the No. 9 goal scoring unit in the league and No. 7 on the power play.
The Capitals’ success will come from slowing down the Knights’ offense as has been their struggle this season. Washington hasn’t been bad on defense – just average. But that won’t cut it at T-Mobile where the Knights have a 13-2-1 record. The Capitals are 7-7-1 away from home.
From the looks of it I am going back to the total. OVER