Fresh off their impressive 4-1 victory over the Kings in Los Angeles, the Vegas Golden Knights play their second of back-to-back games tonight when they visit the Arizona Coyotes in the only NHL game on the card.
This is a dangerous game for the Golden Knights, as they haven’t been that good in the back end of consecutive games. Vegas is 3-11 in this situation. The good news for Knights fans is they’re in midst of their Dad’s Trip, so there is added motivation for this game.
Yesterday we saw Malcolm Subban spectacular in net once again. Tonight we can expect to see 15-year veteran Marc-Andre Fleury, who is 21-10-4 this season with a 2.60 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.
Fleury won his last start, in Las Vegas, where he allowed one goal on 32 shots to Colorado on Thursday. If he is in, he’ll be across the ice from Darcy Kuemper, who is 5-10-2 this season with a 2.77 goals against average. Kuemper has a .912 save percentage and lost his last start, allowing two goals on 26 shots to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. But, Kuemper hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any of his last five starts.
We are 17-7-2 with totals involving the Golden Knights, after winning with the Under in Saturday game against the Kings. We’re also on a 4-3 run with top-rated power plays throughout the league.
As of 1 p.m. PT, the Knights are -135, while the Kings are taking back +125.
Value in the Knights
This team is knocking on the door in the Pacific Division and is suddenly near the top of the Western Conference after a rough start to the season. With half their season out of the way, the Golden Knights are in third place in the tightly packed Pacific, with 48 points, one point back of second-place San Jose and two points back of division-leading Calgary. Those three teams rank among the top four in the Western Conference, and the Knights could be the hottest of the top four. They’ve won five of six and are 6-1-3 in their last 10. Yesterday’s win improved their road record to 10-12-1, and there is momentum to carry over to this game. For as bad as Arizona is — seventh in the Pacific and 12th in the West — the line seems low. That could be because of the back-to-back factor, but with Vegas sporting an all-time 17-3 mark on Sundays, not to mention an all-time record of 35-16 against division foes, we think -135 could be a cheap price to lay.
Value in the Coyotes
Arizona rolls into this game off a momentous overtime victory in Anaheim, and could return home to a raucous crowd. We’re aware the Coyotes have not played well in back-to-back nights and struggled against the Golden Knights since they joined the league, but that brings us right back to the line. For as good as Vegas is playing, and as bad as Arizona has been, why is this line so low? You have to wonder, considering Arizona has won six of its last eight games against Western Conference teams, if the books are begging you to take Vegas, knowing local fans will pound this cheap number it would could be a closer-than-expected game. The Coyotes will be playing for their fans in this one, it being the final game of 2018, so if there were a time you were going to invest in an underdog against a playoff-caliber team — this could be the spot.
As of 1 p.m. PT, the total in this game is 5.5-under -110.
We’re guessing if this game were in Las Vegas, the total would be 6. But in Arizona, where the Coyotes will look to slow things down and steal the Knights’ thunder in the neutral zone, we’re seeing the 5.5. More so than anything, however, it’s primarily because Arizona cannot score. The ‘Yotes are near the bottom of the league in goals scored, averaging a mere 2.5 per game this season. With Fleury getting a couple days rest, we expect him to silence the stagnant Coyotes here, and force Kuemper to do the same. Both teams on the second of back-to-backs in Southern Cal, we’ll look for a second straight Under involving the Knights.
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.