The Vegas Golden Knights return home on a 6-1-3 run, and playing their best hockey of the season. Which is a good thing, since they’re hosting border rival Los Angeles, which arrives at T-Mobile Arena on a 4-1-0 run.
The teams just met on Saturday in L.A., where the Knights beat the Kings 4-1 in a game William Carrier, Alex Tuch, William Karlsson and Paul Stastny all found the back of the net. It was also a game Malcolm Subban earned his first victory of the season.
The Kings will be looking for revenge one day after knocking off Colorado, 3-2 in overtime. Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown recorded his third game-winning goal (and team-leading 11th goal) of the season, in his fourth multi-point game on the season, and the Kings continue to look much better under interim coach Willie Desjardins.
Vegas and Los Angeles have met three times this season, with the Kings holding the 2-1 edge this season.
We are 17-8-2 with totals involving the Golden Knights after losing with the under in Sunday’s game against the Coyotes. We’re also on a 4-3 run with top-rated power plays throughout the league.
As of 2 p.m. PT, the Knights are -260, while the Kings are taking back +235.
Value in the Knights
As stated, the Golden Knights have surged near the top of the Pacific Division and Western Conference with 50 points, and are riding three-game winning streak that has seen Marc-Andre Fleury (twice) and Malcolm Subban (once) allow just one goal in each game. They’ve outscored their three foes by a combined final of 11-3, and have had a day to rest since returning home after beating Arizona 5-1 on Sunday night. With the momentum they’re playing with, it’s conceivable the Knights have no problem evening the series with L.A. With the price as high as it is, though, you have to consider the puck line, at +130.
Value in the Kings
Los Angeles beat the Golden Knights 5-1 at home on Dec. 8, and 4-3 in overtime in Las Vegas on Dec. 23. Vegas got partial revenge last weekend at Los Angeles. But with the Kings playing the way they’ve played, and not having to worry about New Year’s and what comes with it, arriving from Denver after the overtime win, it’s strictly business for the Kings, who have won five of their last six games. With as big of a price as the books are offering, there’s no reason to ignore a $2-plus price in a rivalry game. If you like playing underdogs, this is as good a spot as any.
As of 1 p.m. PT, the total in this game is 5.5-under -115.
We’re going to play this one under. Fact is, the Golden Knights have won three straight because of their defense. They looked fantastic against the Avalanche in killing back-to-back penalties to preserve a 2-1 win last week, then stifled the Kings and Coyotes on their own ice. Subban and Fleury have stopped 90 of 93 shots (96.8 save percentage) and the team has allowed only two power-play goals in 12 opportunities (83.3 percent success rate). The Kings, meanwhile, have stayed under in three straight and five of six, allowing an average of 2.1 in that span. Jack Campbell is expected in net for the Kings, after being activated from the injured reserve list on Monday. Campbell should be fresh and amped up, feeding off the atmosphere, and keeping the game close. This one stays low.
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.