The Vegas Golden Knights stay on the road after defeating the Minnesota Wild in a shootout by a final score of 2-1. In fact, the Golden Knights don’t see the T-Mobile Arena back home in Vegas until next Tuesday. They’re on an early season five-game road trip after opening the season at home. That game can be put in the trash for the Knights. The Philadelphia Flyers opened up a 5-1 lead over Vegas and were able to avoid the “flu” with a 5-2 win. I think teams might start to take the Golden Knights a little more seriously this season.
That goes for heading on the road to play in Las Vegas. It kind of felt like a novelty idea for some players to go out to play hockey on the Strip, but after a full season in the league, visitors might treat it as just another business trip after cycling through the city to play. The first trip it might feel a bit weird going there to play hockey, but it will likely normalize for most players.
The Golden Knights would prefer to be in Las Vegas right now, but it’s best to get these road trips out of the way early, so there aren’t as many down the road. They are 1 for 1 on the trip after Erik Haula buried the winner in a shootout. Max Pacioretty also got on the board for Vegas, which was the first goal with his new team. It made for their first ever win over the Wild in franchise history. The Knights already have a couple of those against the Sabres. In their only two meetings last season, the Golden Knights won by scores of 5-4 and 2-1, both of which went to overtime. Head below for our free Golden Knights vs. Sabres pick.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Buffalo Sabres Pick
If you expect the Golden Knights to just go this regular season without any adversity, you’re likely to be disappointed. Last season, they never really got stuck in a hole despite some hurdles. The injury to Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban injuries looked significant at the time, but they brushed it off and ended up going to the AHL for a starter. In 2018-19, expect the Golden Knights to go on a cold spell sooner or later.
How they respond is going to be interesting. Everything went so smoothly for them last season until they met the Capitals in the Final. It’s almost like Vegas fans, most of who might be new to hockey, were shocked in the opener against the Flyers. They certainly aren’t used to getting bullied around like that in the regular season.
The Knights looked fine in Minnesota, as they outshot the Wild by a margin of 42 to 30. They’ll look to shell Carter Hutton this afternoon in Buffalo. Hutton has gotten off to a decent start with a 0.942 save percentage and 2.09 GAA. He looked sharp against the Rangers in a bounce back effort after falling 4-0 to the Bruins. The Sabres went on to earn a 3-1 win in that one.
Fleury enters with a 0.87 save percentage after a poor performance against the Flyers in the season opener. With the Golden Knights blowing away the competition, there are going to be several opportunities to fade them as favourites. They likely aren’t going to duplicate what they did last season. Look for them to reach the playoffs, but they might have to fight for that.
Teams aren’t going to take them as lightly. The Sabres shouldn’t be taking any teams lightly considering where they are as a team right now. In the midst of a road trip and playing at a weird time on the east coast on a Monday, this could be one of those spots that the Golden Knights come out slow. A bounce here or there and the Sabres beat the Knights twice last season. With that in mind, -140 and up at some books like too expensive for me on Vegas here. The value lays with the underdog and the Sabres at home on Monday afternoon.