Betting Spotlight: Goals could be aplenty in Golden Knights-Canadiens

Max Pacioretty’s return could be one highlighting much offense.

By W.G. Ramirez

The Vegas Golden Knights continue their four-game road trip tonight in Montreal, where the defending Western Conference champs are laying about -120 to the Canadiens

Vegas (7-8-1) had the night off after a 5-3 victory at the Ottawa Senators in a game that saw the Golden Knights rekindle an offensive flame they hadn’t seen all season. After hitting the four-goal plateau just twice this season - both times at home - Vegas notched its biggest offensive output of the campaign. The Golden Knights hope to carry the momentum into Montreal for the front end of back-to-back games. They conclude their six-day trip in Boston on Sunday.

Montreal is in after losing at home to the Buffalo Sabres, 6-5, in what was somewhat of a shocking loss in overtime. Carey Price gave up a season-high six goals and saw his save percentage drop to .892 and his goals-against-average soar to 3.07. Now he faces a Golden Knights team that will be hungry to close the junket strong. The Canadiens (8-5-3) have now lost two straight for the first time this season, as they previously lost to the New York Rangers, 5-3.

The entertainment value will be high for this one, with several storylines.

Value in the Knights

The return of former Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty is the biggest storyline, as he will be back in Montreal for the first time since being dealt to Vegas in September. If there were ever a time to see him shine, it would be in this game, in the arena he played in since being drafted by the Canadiens in 2007. The second line has been the biggest problem for the Golden Knights, mainly due to injury.

The shuffling of forwards hasn’t been easy for coach Gerard Gallant, but the comfort of playing back in Montreal may ease Pacioretty, not to mention playing alongside linemates Cody Eakin and Alex Tuch. They’re both very smart players, and know how to feed the puck, and could end up with a couple of assists if Pacioretty has his best night as a Knight, to date.

Value in the Canadiens

Montreal hasn’t lost two in a row all season, so it certainly will be looking to rebound tonight. The team was not happy with its loss on Thursday, and with a 6-0-1 mark following a loss this season, it’s clear this team has shown resiliency. Montreal is 5-3-1 at home this season. The team has to be playing with a sense or urgency, since it is on a 4-4-2 run after opening the campaign 4-1-1. The Canadiens are clinging to third place in the Atlantic Division, and a win here would help them get on track before heading to Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

The Total

Two straight totals have cashed in from our Betting Spotlight, as we told you the Under was value when the Golden Knights went to Toronto and the Over was value in Ottawa. Tonight, we could be looking at another high-scoring affair. The total of 5 1/2 is lower than we expected, considering how the teams have played at both ends of the ice.

It’ll be Marc-Andre Fleury against Antti Niemi, and it’s conceivable both could give up a few goals in this one. Fleury may be 7-6-1 on the season with a 2.51 GAA, but his defense has left him out to dry on the road more times than not, and it’s driven the offense to produce to bail things out. Which means bad news for Niemi, who is 3-1-0 this season with a 3.13 GAA. Montreal has gone Over in four of its last five, and will need to play fast paced to keep up with Vegas’ attack.

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