The Vegas Golden Knights are on the road for the first time since Dec. 17, when they lost in Columbus 1-0. In that game, Malcolm Subban was in net, and despite the loss, put together his best performance of the season.
Per reports out of Los Angeles, Subban will be between the pipes today against the Kings.
Gallant confirms Subban is starting in net for the @GoldenKnights— Ben Gotz (@BenSGotz) December 29, 2018
This is a dangerous game for the Golden Knights, as they just lost in overtime to their border rival, and the Kings have won four straight, including a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.
After opening the season 4-8-1, Los Angeles fired head coach John Stevens. Since then, under interim head coach Willie Desjardins, the Kings are 11-12-2 and eight points back of the second wild-card spot, albeit still in last place in the league with just 33 points, one back of the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles is also 2-0-0 against the Golden Knights this season, adding to the intrigue of this matinee game.
We are 16-7-2 with totals involving the Golden Knights, after losing with the Over in Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. We’re also on a 4-3 run with top-rated power plays throughout the league.
As of 5 a.m. PT, the Knights are -125, while the Avalanche are taking back +115.
Value in the Knights
Vegas returned from Christmas break by knocking off the Colorado Avalanche in a tight 2-1 decision. The win snapped a two-game skid. Vegas is 5-2-3 in its last 10, and while those overtime points are nice, it simply means the Knights have split their last 10 games. Vegas is truly laying a cheap price here, even on the road, given how well it has played against Los Angeles since last season. The Knights will come into this one looking for revenge for the most recent loss to L.A., not to mention looking for their first win over the Kings this season. Vegas can’t afford to let down at this point, and will look to sustain the winning momentum during the team’s Dad’s trip. Not a bad price to lay, considering the Kings are the worst team in the Western Conference.
Value in the Kings
Now, on the other side of that value, it raises an eyebrow to think the worst team in the West is catching such a low number. It’s an indicator how improved the Kings are under Desjardins. In this four-game win streak, the Kings have knocked off Winnipeg, San Jose, Vegas and Arizona. Three of those teams have been mentioned as potential representatives in this season’s Stanley Cup Final. The Kings have outscored those four by a combined final of 13-7, and again, they’ve swept the first two meetings with Vegas - including a 5-1 decision in Los Angeles on Dec. 8. The Kings have been home since returning after the Dec. 23rd win in Vegas and should have plenty of rest on their side when they step on the ice. It’s hard to see value in a team that carries the label “worst,” but the fact is the Kings are playing like the last place team in the West. This dog is barking.
As of 11 a.m. PT, the total in this game is 5.5-under -110.
It’ll be Subban against Jonathan Quick, who is expected to be in net for the Kings. And we like this one to stay low. Both teams came out of the break with a defensive nature, and we expect that to carry over to this game. But it’s the goalies who we think will have spectacular games today. Subban, as mentioned, was fantastic against Columbus, and in search of his first victory, he will be on point today. He allowed just the one goal to the Blue Jackets, whole stopping 30 shots for a .968 save percentage. And knowing Quick is across the ice from him, he’ll have to put his best blocker forward. Quick is 5-8-2 with a 2.92 goals against average and .904 save percentage. The Kings are dinged up a bit, too, which means Quick can’t afford to let Vegas score in spurts like it’s used to doing. Look for this one to stay low, as we’re looking for a 2-1 or 3-2 game.
W.G. Ramirez is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas who covers the Vegas Golden Knights for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at @WillieGRamirez.