The Vegas Golden Knights look to stay on fire in Winnipeg tonight, as they seek wins in nine of their previous ten games. Their only loss during that stretch has been against the LA Kings of all teams. They also lost to the Kings in January, so it’s a team that has had their number. The loss against the Kings was a letdown spot for them, but good teams know how to bounce back from those.
Vegas was able to accomplish that against the Devils, as Robin Lehner blanked them by a score of 3-0. With the victory, the Golden Knights have a 2-point advantage on the Edmonton Oilers in the Pacific Division. The Blackhawks are currently up on the Oilers on Thursday night, so we’ll see if that score holds. By the time you read this, the Oilers and Golden Knights may be knotted at 82 points.
It took a while for a team to answer the call and get hot. The Golden Knights and Oilers are both hitting their stride at the same time. By the way it looks now, even if the Golden Knights and Oilers don’t win the Pacific Division, they will at least get into the playoffs as a top-3 team in the division or wildcard. The Jets are currently the last team in with 74 points on the season. Arizona and Nashville are both knocking on the door, though.
The Pacific has been a competitive division throughout the season, and it looks like it’s going to go down to the wire. The Jets have not been playing great lately. They are losers in four of their last six games. Wins in seven out of ten games in February has kept them afloat in the playoff race. Injuries to the Canucks had helped them out, too. The Coyotes have been hit and miss, so the Canucks can thank others for being where they are.
Winnipeg is coming off a 3-1 win against the Sabres on Tuesday night. Connor Hellebuyck was efficient between the pipes, as he sent back 25 of 26 shots. Hellebuyck has been doing his part of late in net. He isn’t going to set a new career-high this season or anything, but Hellebuyck is playing much better than last year. It wasn’t a good campaign for Hellebuyck, as he posted a 2.90 GAA and 0.913 save percentage in 63 games. After Lehner’s performance against the Devils, the Golden Knights are scheduled to give the crease to Marc-Andre Fleury. Head below for our free Golden Knights vs. Jets pick.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets Betting Odds:
Golden Knights vs. Jets Prediction:
Connor Hellebuyck enters Friday with a 2.64 GAA and 0.92 save percentage. That isn’t going to put him in Vezina contention like in 2017-18, but serviceable enough to put him back on the map following a shaky 2018-19. Hellebuyck has allowed 2 or fewer goals in three out of his four starts, including a 34-save shutout against the high-octane Washington Capitals. If Hellebuyck were to get injured, the Jets aren’t going to survive with Laurent Brossoit, so knock on wood, they have to hope that he stay healthy. Brossoit has a 3.28 GAA and 0.895 save percentage. That wouldn’t work with the playoffs up for grabs.
Along with Hellebuyck playing well, the defence has stepped it up and helping him out immensely. The Jets don’t quite have the same firepower they had on their roster in 2017-18. If they’re going to win games and get into the playoffs, it has to happen with an improved effort on the defensive end. In that regard, the Jets have been playing well. Note that they’ve allowed 2.2 goals per game in their previous ten outings. Despite that, though, the Jets are winners in only six of their last ten games. Some bad puck luck killed them in a couple of those games. Not much that can be done about that.
Fleury has been the confirmed starting goaltender for the Golden Knights tonight. This move by Peter DeBoer has me scratching my head a bit. I know the Golden Knights don’t want to shy away from Fleury completely, but they seem to have Lehner in a groove. It’d make more sense to ride Lehner and see if he can get really hot. Lehner has won each of starts with the Golden Knights and allowed 2 goals on 61 shots for a combined save percentage of 0.97.
That’s a goaltender that DeBoer should be going back to, but it appears Fleury will be the guy on Friday. It’d be fine if Vegas was on a back-to-back, but they don’t have a game Saturday. Fleury has a 2.76 GAA and 0.906 save percentage on the season. He has allowed at least 3 goals in three of his past four outings. Vegas has been average on the road, with 2.97 goals scored and 2.9 against per game. I know they’re hot, but -135 looks a bit too steep here in Winnipeg. The Jets look like a good value play Friday at MTS Place.