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The Vegas Golden Knights are thought to be one of the favorites to win the Western Conference this season and have started off strong at 4-1-0 with 8 points. Vegas is tied for first place in the West division with Minnesota. However, Vegas was defeated by Arizona 5-2 on Friday in the first of two games in Arizona. Vegas has played Arizona in each of its last three games and it’s only other opponent this season has been Anaheim and the Golden Knights defeated the Ducks in two straight games to open the season.
Arizona has struggled to find consistency starting its regular season as the Coyotes are 2-2-1 with five points. However, Arizona’s victory over Vegas on Friday snapped a short two-game losing streak to Vegas. Besides playing Vegas, Arizona opened the season with two consecutive games against the San Jose Sharks and were 1-1, losing to the Sharks on opening night 4-3 and bouncing back with a 5-3 in the second game of the season.
Vegas goaltending continues to shine
Vegas is allowing an average of just 2.40 goals-per-game thanks in a big part to the blue line but the goalie tandem of the Golden Knights is something special. Robin Lerner is 2-1-0 with a goals-against average of 2.68 and a .898 save percentage. Lehner has pushed aside 71 of the 79 shots he has faced in net. Not to be outdone, Marc-Andre Fleury is 2-0-0 with a goals-against average of 1.51 and a .933 save percentage. Fleury has pushed aside 42 of the 45 shots he has faced in net.
At the other end of the ice, defenseman Shea Theodore is leading Vegas in goals scored with three, while right winger Mark Stone has the assists lead with six and the overall points lead with eight. Max Pacioretty is tied for the goal scoring leader for Vegas with three and three other players for the Golden Knights have scored two goals each. Vegas has struggled on its power play scoring just 11.1% of the time, while it’s penalty-kill unit has been effective 83.3% of the time.
Injury Report: Jiri PateraIs out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury.
Arizona giving up too much in goal
Through the first five games of the regular season, Arizona is scoring an average of 3.40 goals per game, but the defense and goaltenders are allowing the same 3.40 goals per game. Darcy Kuemper is 1-2-1 with a goal against average of 3.23 and a .893 save percentage. Kuemper has pushed aside 109 of the 122 shots he has faced in net.
The Arizona offense is led by right winger Phil Kessel who has a team-high four goals, while right winger Conor Garland is leading the Coyotes in assists with four and in points with six. Arizona’s Nick Schmaltz is second in goals scored with three, while Connor Garland and Clayton Keller each have scored two. The Arizona power play is scoring 22.7% of the time, while the Coyotes penalty-kill unit is effective 79.2% of the time.
Injury Report: Oliver Ekman-Larsson is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury, while Antti Raanta is questionable for Sunday with an undisclosed injury.
- Arizona is 2-5 in the last seven
- The Coyotes are 7-19 in the last 26 following a victory
- Vegas is 4-1 in the last five versus a team from the West
- The Golden Knights are 6-2 in the last eight against a team with a losing record
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Vegas has a much better goaltending unit as Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury are equally difficult to beat while in net. Vegas has won four of the last five between these two West rivals. Vegas has also won six of the last seven against a team that has an overall losing record. Arizona has struggled keeping the puck out of its own net, as the Coyotes are allowing an average of 3.40 goals per game and will be up against a team that is allowing an average of just 2.40 goals per game.
Vegas Golden Knights -169
Full-Game Total Pick
Although Vegas has started the season scoring well, the total has finished under in six of the last seven games that the Golden Knights have played on the road. With Lehner or Fleury in net, Arizona will find it difficult to score on Vegas for a second consecutive game. The total has finished under in 25 of the last 36 games that Arizona has scored five or more goals in the previous game, which they did in their victory over Vegas on Friday.