Vegas Golden Knights at Arizona Coyotes

 

 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes will play the third of four straight games between the two teams on Friday night in Glendale. Vegas has won the first two games in the set by multiple goals, including a 5-2 win on Wednesday as a -182 favorite on the moneyline. It’s been a perfect start for the Golden Knights at 4-0-0, while Arizona is now 1-2-1.

Arizona has won just four of the 14 meetings since Vegas came into the league in 2017 and is on a four-game losing streak in the series.

Vegas rolls to 4-0-0 start

The Golden Knights continued taking care of business on Wednesday and controlled the game against Arizona from the opening puck drop. Alex Pietrangelo scored his first goal with the Golden Knights at the 8:33 mark of the first period to put Vegas up 2-0, and the Coyotes never got closer as they only mustered 23 shot attempts.

Shea Theodore paced the Golden Knights with a pair of goals, while Alex Tuch had a goal and two assists. Marc Andre-Fleury stopped 21 of 23 shot attempts to pick up his second win of the season in two starts.

“I think the biggest thing about those games was we got better,” Fleury said to the Associated Press. “We’re not going to win them all, but I think if we can keep improving on our game and get better as a team we’ll do well.”

Vegas has been a very profitable betting team so far, as it is 3-1 against the spread as a -1.5 favorite on every puckline, with only one game against the Anaheim Ducks last week decided by a single goal. Overs are 3-1 for the Golden Knights, with the first two games against Arizona going over the betting total of 5.5 goals.

The Golden Knights have been dominant both offensively and defensively, with an average of four goals per game on 29.75 shots per game and 7.14% on the power play. Opponents are averaging just two goals and 24.75 shots per game, and Vegas stands at 91.67 percent on penalty kills.

Winger Mark Stone currently leads the NHL with seven points, while Max Pacioretty has a team-high three goals on the season. The Knights have split time between their two goaltenders, with Fleury stopping 42 of 45 shot attempts and Robin Lehner allowing four goals on 54 shots faced.

Vegas has enjoyed a clean bill of health so far, as the only player currently out is reserve goaltender Jiri Patera with an undisclosed injury.

Arizona stifled in Vegas

Arizona’s quest to return to the playoffs is off to a rocky start, as the Coyotes simply weren’t in the same league as Vegas during the first two games of the series. Phil Kessel continued his strong start to the year with a goal in the third period after Nick Schmaltz scored in the second, but Arizona was unable to manufacture many dangerous chances throughout the game.

Winger Drake Caggiula provided the lone assist on the Schmaltz goal and finished at +1 for the game. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper only managed to stop 24 of 29 shots faced as Arizona was dominated in every facet.

“We got outplayed,” center Derick Brassard said to the Associated Press. “We all know they’re a big team, they have big bodies, but tonight we didn’t skate enough. We didn’t think the game well.”

Arizona is 1-3 against the spread, as it covered a -1.5 puckline as a -127 moneyline favorite with a 5-3 victory in the second game of the year against San Jose after losing to the Sharks 4-3 on opening night. All four of Arizona’s games have gone over the betting total, which has been set at 5.5 goals each time.

The Coyotes are averaging exactly three goals per game on 29.5 shots per contest and 18.75 percent on the power play. Opponents are putting up four goals and 31.5 shots per game, with the Coyotes killing off 80 percent of penalties.

After scoring just 15 goals last season, Kessel has already put four in the back of the net this season, while defenseman Jackob Chychurn leads the Coyotes with five points. Kuemper has been slow out of the gate, stopping 81 of 90 shots faced while going 0-2-1 in three starts.

Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury, a key absence on the Arizona blue line. Center Barrett Hayton is questionable with an undisclosed injury sustained in the season opener.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:
 

While we probably won’t see too many three-game winning streaks for teams in this extended regular season, Vegas just looks to be in a different league with far more talent and depth. These plus odds are too tempting with how Vegas has been handling lesser competition thus far, and Arizona is having a lot of trouble generating offense in this matchup.

Offensive playmaking figured to be the main issue for Arizona this season, as the Coyotes were 23rd in the NHL in goals per game last season and lost top-end talent like Taylor Hall and Derek Stepan over the offseason. Arizona has only managed to generate nine high-danger scoring chances thus far, a bad sign considering half its schedule has been against a poor San Jose defense.

The Coyotes needed Kuemper to be outstanding all season just to make the qualifying round of the playoffs last year, and the fact he’s off to a rough start makes it hard for Arizona to be competitive right now. Vegas looks to be right up with Tampa Bay as the best all-around roster in the NHL, and the Golden Knights should keep rolling here.

Prediction:
Vegas -1.5 (+155)

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:
 

While the Arizona defense is largely outmatched against Vegas, this could be a good opportunity for O/U result to flip in this series and bring the string of overs for both teams to an end. Kuemper might not match his 2.22 goals against average or .928 save percentage, but has been too good over the past handful of seasons to not see some positive regression soon.

The Coyotes don’t have the high-end talent to put many past the stifling Vegas defensive unit, and being shut out or held to one goal is very much in play here. Vegas’ goaltending duo of Lehner and Fleury has looked terrific so far, and whichever one start can shut down what limited offense Arizona gets.

Prediction:
Under 5.5