The Anaheim Ducks and Vegas Golden Knights are scheduled to meet again at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday night in Las Vegas. It might be for the betterment of the team that there is a hotel bubble for the Ducks, and other teams visiting the city. A two-game series during the regular season in Las Vegas would spell trouble in the second-half of the back-to-back.
Give these guys a day off in Vegas and it doesn’t bode well for being focused in the second game. It doesn’t matter what city, NHL players typically like to party regardless, but Las Vegas could provide too many temptations. If there wasn’t for a pandemic, we wouldn’t be talking about these back-to-back situations in the same city, so it’s all a bit of a moot point.
There isn’t any hiding from cameras in the city, so no, the Ducks aren’t secretly out there. Even then, there isn’t much to do with nightclubs and the bar scene in Las Vegas very quiet at the moment. In the first meeting, the Ducks were getting hammered before nearly pulling off an improbable comeback. Well, they did erase a 4-1 Vegas lead and came back, but couldn’t hold on.
Following three unanswered Ducks’ goals, Zach Whitecloud found the back of the net for the Golden Knights with just under 4 minutes remaining to break the 4-4 deadlock. Marc-Andre Fleury has to dig deeper than that and avoid giving up a 4-1 lead. However, the Golden Knights have been dealing with defensive injuries, and there are going to be lapses on the blue line. Shea Theodore left the game early on Tuesday, joining Brayden McNabb and Alex Pietrangelo on the injury list.
McNabb is on the long-term IR for the Golden Knights, while Pietrangelo is expected to miss at least one more game. There is a chance he could be back from the Covid-19 list, though. Theodore is questionable to play on Thursday night after getting banged up in the first game against the Ducks. In other words, the Golden Knights are likely going to be thin on the blue line for this contest. Robin Lehner will likely get the call in the crease after Fleury took the opening game on Tuesday.
The win for the Golden Knights was their third in a row and eighth in ten games this season. They head into Thursday night with a record of 8-1-1 to lead the West Division with 17 points. They’ve played three fewer games than the St. Louis Blues, but have a point advantage on them for first. It’s been a struggle for the Ducks at 5-6-3, but all things considered, they weren’t expected to be anything more than a .500 team. Head below for our free Ducks vs. Golden Knights pick on February 11, 2021.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Vegas Golden Knights NHL Betting Odds:
Ducks vs. Golden Knights Prediction:
The Ducks are a team stuck between rebuilding, retooling, or going for it. Going for it is really the most unlikely scenario. The front office has to be blind if they think the Ducks can compete in the West Division. One trade isn’t going to fix their roster and make them a contender suddenly. While they’re in an okay position to be in a tie for fourth in the division, it’s a bit deceiving. The Ducks are dead last in goal differential at -10 goals.
They face another tough challenge against a Golden Knights’ offence that is scoring at will, especially at home where they’ve averaged a whopping 4.25 goals per game. Note that Vegas has scored at least 4 goals in their previous four outings. They are feeling hot offensively right now, and it’s a good thing because their defence is vulnerable.
The Golden Knights could be without three of their best blue liners. We know McNabb and Pietrangelo might be out, McNabb for sure, and there’s a chance Theodore is going to be on the shelf after leaving early on Tuesday. Robin Lehner has not been in good form this season, so a healthy defence would give the Golden Knights a nice lift. Lehner has posted a 2.96 GAA and 0.89 save percentage through five games. He will likely see the pipes after Fleury started on Tuesday.
The Ducks were struggling mightily early in the season, but signs of life recently. They’ve scored an average of 3.25 goals per game in their last four games. I like Vegas, but with their health issues on the blue line, it’s certainly a concern and something you can’t ignore. Adding Theodore to the injury report with McNabb already out hurts, with a chance of Pietrangelo still awaiting work on Covid-19 protocol. I could see a 4-2 or 5-2 game here to push this game OVER the total.