It will be a reason for celebrating and reflecting in Las Vegas tonight. The Vegas Golden Knights will take the ice for their first ever regular season home game in team history. This will also mark the first game in Vegas since the shooting a week ago. Tonight should have only been a celebration, an occasion that marks not only the first game in Vegas for the Knights, but the first ever professional sports game.
For the people who want to be smart asses and point it out, yeah, I know about the 51’s AAA baseball team. The Golden Knights have gotten off to a nice start, especially for an expansion team. I’m referring to the four major leagues. Vegas go into Tuesday night with a record of 2-0-0, beating the Stars in their opener, and then taking down the Coyotes the other night. The NHL is trying to push a rivalry between the Golden Knights and Coyotes, who will complete their home and home tonight at T-Mobile Arena.
Vegas have been riding the back of Marc-Andre Fleury thus far. He’s been brilliant and standing on his head for the Knights. As was already believed to be the case before the season begun, the Golden Knights are only going to go as far as Fleury takes them. From what I’ve seen so far, they aren’t going to be a playoff team or anything, which again, is expected from an expansion franchise, but Fleury will steal some games for them.
And that’s exactly what has happened for them through the first two games of the year. In both games, against the Stars and Yotes, Vegas took wins by the scores of 2-1. In Arizona it went to overtime, before James Neal sealed the deal. Neal already has 3 goals, including 2 in the opener. He has to like being the focal-point of an offense. Neal has long been a sidekick for others, but he’s been taking advantage of a bigger role in Vegas. Head below for our free Coyotes vs. Golden Knights pick.
Arizona Coyotes vs. Vegas Golden Knights Pick
Now that the regular season is upon us, the Golden Knights have tightened up and playing their game. In the sense that they are relying on Fleury and their defence to lead the way. I just noted that James Neal is a major focal-point of the Vegas offence. A good player no doubt, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to keep this pace up. The Knights are going to go through droughts offensively given their roster. They may have won both, but Fleury gets a lot of that credit. The Knights hit the net 42 times against the Coyotes in Arizona, so I shouldn’t say they sat back, though.
The Golden Knights have already done something pretty impressive, going 2-0-0 as an expansion team. There will be growing pains, but there appears to be some chemistry already with this group. The Coyotes have started the year out at 0-1-1. They’ve been outshot in all of them, and given up at least 40 shots for an average of 42.3 across their first three games. If you look closely, you would notice there is a little less heart on the roster. Shane Doan anyone?
You would think we’re in March and their defence is getting tired. Despite allowing 42 shots against Vegas the other night, they benefited from playing a team with little playmaking ability. Hitting the net is different than generating scoring chances. They still went to overtime after what was a lackluster effort for the Coyotes. For Vegas, I think that’s what their apex is going to be in 2017-18.
I think they’re going to have some motivation to not be known as the team to lose twice in a row to a team who has only played three games in team history. Vegas will give another hard effort tonight in their home opener, but I can see Arizona playing better not wanting to be embarrassed by a brand new franchise. You aren’t going to find a cheap price like this in Golden Knight games much this season.
PICK: COYOTES (-104)