The hottest ticket in Vegas isn’t a pop star, a metal band or even a Floyd Mayweather fight. It’s the Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL.
Thanks to a marquee opponent in the New York Rangers on Sunday T-Mobile Arena was packed, but it was the home Knights fans who made all the noise in a 2-1 victory, which makes it 10 wins out of the last 11 games.
As mentioned in previous columns, head coach Gerard Gallant has a ton to do with this level of success. Tasked with taking a team that didn’t play with one another at all in 2016-17, he somehow has gelled this team into a unit that looks more like a well-oiled machine that has been in the postseason the past three or four years. Bottom line – it’s a remarkable achievement.
Thanks to the Golden Knights being the first place team in the Pacific Division, Gallant was named the head coach for the Pacific Division All Stars – the 3-on-3 All Star format takes place in Tampa this season on Jan. 28.
One of the other huge stories of the week was Golden Knights GM George McPhee making his first big move of the season, re-signing Jonathan Marchessault to a six-year, $30 million extension. The 27-year-old would have been an unrestricted free agent this summer. Marchessault leads the Golden Knights in points with 40 (16 goals, 24 assists) in 38 games. Great idea getting him under contract as now rumor has it they can start working on a deal for veteran James Neal.
Vegas gets a bit of a break this week with only one game scheduled, a Saturday night tilt with the Edmonton Oilers.
Edmonton at Vegas
PROJECTED LINE: OILERS +150, KNIGHTS -170
After nearly a full week off the Knights should feel rather rested; meanwhile the Oilers come in off a game Friday at Arizona. Edmonton has been one of the big disappointments this season and it’s the familiar old thorn for the Oilers – defense – that has dropped them to the bottom three of the Pacific. The Oilers have given up 141 goals, the fourth worst mark in the NHL and sit 31st in penalty kill at 71.5 percent.
Recently the Oilers traded a fourth-round pick to Montreal for goalie Al Montoya. Maybe a goalie with his level of experience could find a way to get hot and help out this struggling defense. Montoya got in his first action Saturday vs. Dallas, allowing one goal on 14 shots in relief of Cam Talbot and chasing after four goals on 19 shots.
Funny thing about any sport is based on the score of the only game these two teams played an 8-2 thrashing; one would think the Knights won, but they didn’t. The Oilers’ six-goal win was the worst loss of the season for the Knights. My guess is they will remember that coming into T-Mobile Arena Saturday.
If you can find a spot to let you parlay KNIGHTS -1.5 and OVER 6, let it fly. If not, pick your favorite.