Vegas beat the Rangers in New York on Dec. 16 when the Knights took a 4-3 overtime decision.
Vegas is in after a 3-2 victory over New Jersey on Sunday, and that followed a win in Anaheim on Friday by the identical score. The Golden Knights erased deficits in both of those games as they continue to show a knack for sniffing out wins however they can.
We are 18-9-2 with totals involving the Golden Knights after losing with the Over in Sunday’s game against the Devils. We’re also on a 4-3 run with top-rated power plays throughout the league and look forward to returning this week with our power plays not involving Vegas.
As of 6 p.m. PT, the Knights are -275, while the Rangers are taking back +250.
Value in the Knights
The Golden Knights would obviously be on the Puck Line, as we would never suggest laying this big of a number. And since the Rangers have been outscored 18-3 during their three-game slide, it’s not unlikely to think Vegas puts a six-spot on the board tonight. The top two lines will have a different look since Reilly Smith has been placed on the injured-reserve list. Max Pacioretty will join William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault on the first line while scoring sensation Brandon Pirri is back from Chicago and will once again skate with Alex Tuch and Paul Stastny. That’s a dangerous top-six forward lineup that can produce many, many goals. Karlsson, who scored 43 goals last season, said this past week he’s been itching to find the back of the net and get his numbers up while continuing to help his team ascend in the Western Conference.
Value in the Rangers
If there were ever a game to see New York pull off a stunner, it’s in this game. Nobody is giving the sliding Rangers a chance — and that might include the streaking Golden Knights. And since Vegas has the Sharks coming to town Thursday for a major Pacific Division showdown, it’s conceivable the lookahead factor can be applied here. When you consider the Knights had to come from behind in their last two games to win, the Rangers could certainly start off strong and put the Knights on their heels, and control the pace from there. They would have to get past a fresh Marc-Andre Fleury, though, who hasn’t started since last Friday in Anaheim, but he’s not invincible. When you can find an x-factor in the NHL with a storied franchise that plays with pride and is this big of an underdog, it’s worth a look.
As of 6 p.m. PT, the total in this game is 6-over -110.
We lost with the Over on Sunday, but we don’t plan on losing with it tonight. Not with some of the most explosive weapons on the Golden Knights’ first two lines. It’s Karlsson’s birthday, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him net a couple. With Pirri, well, all he does is score, so he could be good for one. And Pacioretty has had two straight game-winning goals. And while all the focus is on those lines, don’t be surprised to see Cody Eakin on the third line or Ryan Reaves on the fourth get in the goal column. The Rangers have to match the offensive speed tonight, and must skate with the Golden Knights. New York cannot afford to let up, and cannot afford to make defensive mistakes that result in odd-man rushes for Vegas. The Rangers also have to send the puck to the net and hope for some puck luck to get past Fleury. We wouldn’t be surprised to see this one approach double digits. Take the Over.
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.