With heavy hearts, the Vegas Golden Knights play in their first ever regular season game in the NHL. Yes, it is Vegas without the Las which irritates me, but what can you do. In any event, Las Vegas is going through a lot right now, and for 3 hours their new hockey team will try to do a small favour by diverting attention away from the news. In their inaugural game, the Golden Knights travel to Dallas where they will play the Stars.
We can’t say anything regarding the Golden Knights previous season, because there isn’t anything, of course. However, we can report on the Stars, and they had a year to forget. Everything they built up in the 2015-16 season, went out the window for 2016-17. The Stars did a stand-up job repairing their defense to put themselves in a solid position back in 2015-16. However, they reverted to their previous ways the following year.
The Stars went to the playoffs and fell in the second-round against the St. Louis Blues. That was in 2016. They seemed to figure their defence out and with their already potent offence, were expected to make some noise. Dallas didn’t go as far as they hoped, but they had something to build off going into the following season. The defensive improvements we witnessed, though, went out the window. They finished with a record of 34-37-11 and missed out on the playoffs completely.
There is plenty of talent littering the Stars’ roster. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are two of the brightest in the game, while Spezza still has something left to give. Additionally, John fourth-year defenceman, John Klingberg, is emerging as one of the better offensive blueliners in the league. The Stars will score goals, but their backend needs to hold up and get back to providing some help. It’s an exciting night, with the first ever Vegas Golden Knights game. We’ll see how it plays out in Dallas. Get our Golden Knights vs. Stars pick below.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Dallas Stars Pick
The Golden Knights got started this past offseason with the expansion draft. There will be a familiar face on the Knights, as Cody Eakin, the former Dallas Star, will be suiting up for Vegas. Eakin looked like he was playing in mud a year ago, scoring 3 goals and 9 assists across 60 games. A fall from 19 goals and 21 assists two years ago.
Eakin is still young, and it was a down year for the Stars so it’ll be interesting for him in Vegas. The biggest name selected, though, was Marc-Andre Fleury. There were rumours that Fleury was out in Pittsburgh, and sure enough Vegas made him their starting goaltender. Fleury helped the Pens capture another Stanley Cup last season. He was yanked at the first sign of danger in the playoffs, but his efforts didn’t go unnoticed. Fleury can be a streaky netminder at this point in his career, though.
The Stars were 29th in goals allowed last year, which amounted to second last in the NHL with 3.17 goals allowed per game. The only team who were worst was the Avalanche. Dallas acquired Ben Bishop, formerly of the LA Kings, formerly of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bishop used to be regarded as a top goaltender just a couple years ago when he finished with a GAA of 2.06 in 2015-16.
That number shot up to around 2.50 last season for the worst year he had since his first year with the Lightning in 2012-13. Vegas gave up an average of 3.42 goals per game in the preseason.
They also scored an average of 3.71 goals a game. Defensively I expect them to give up more than 3 goals per game in the regular season. It’s going to be harder on their defence, than the offence in their first year, especially in the first game against a team like the Stars. Vegas will look to get into entertaining games, if nothing else, to garner fan attention in Vegas. Until I see the Stars learn how to play defence again, it’s not to take the OVER on them in this spot, against a team who will be lit up all season long, in my opinion.
PICK: OVER 5.5 (-110)