There was a team in the Pacific Division bound to catch fire, we just didn’t know who it was going to be. There were five teams clumped together treading water, and the Vegas Golden Knights have taken the initiative recently to get going. The Golden Knights are on an eight-game winning streak and own a record of 36-22-8 with 80 points.
With some games pending from Saturday night, the Golden Knights have a 6-point advantage on the Canucks and Oilers. That may change by the time you read this, but the worst casino secondary going into Sunday is a 4-point advantage for the Golden Knights. The Canucks lost in Toronto, so they stay 6 points back. They were off last night after a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Robin Lehner made his debut for the Golden Knights against his former team and played a sharp game. It was a 4-1 game with seconds remaining on the clock, and Jeff Skinner scored a stat padder to make it a 4-2 final. While the Golden Knights are getting hot, the Pacific Division is still open for business. The gap is beginning to widen, though, and the Coyotes are all of a sudden well back of first. With Saturday night pending against the Sabres, the Coyotes are 10 points behind the Golden Knights.
It was a wise move of the Golden Knights to target a reliable option in Lehner. They sent their former backup, Malcolm Subban, to Chicago in the deal to make room for Lehner. Marc-Andre Fleury has been iffy in spots this season, and the arrival of Lehner provides them with a guy they could use in tandem with Fleury. Whoever is hotter will get the crease down the stretch.
Lehner is likely to be only a rental for the Golden Knights. He will be seeking a new contract in the offseason. Lehner could have been better with the Blackhawks, but he did not have the same help from his defence there as he did with the Islanders. He will get some assistance from the blueline in Las Vegas, or at least much more than was the case in Chicago.
That’s great news for him and his numbers. Fleury is listed as the probable goaltender against the Kings on Sunday. The last time the Kings were in Las Vegas, it was a runaway victory for the visitors. We’ll see if the Golden Knights are better prepared on the first day of March. Head below for our free Kings vs. Golden Knights pick.
L.A. Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights Betting Odds:
Kings vs. Golden Knights Prediction:
The LA Kings are well out of contention with a record of 24-35-6 and 54 points. Hence why we saw them sell before the trade deadline. Jack Campbell, Alec Martinez, Tyler Toffoli, and Kyle Clifford were the notables to get sent elsewhere. I think the Kings would have liked to add another name or two to that list, but they have some bad contracts that will be unable to move.
The Kings blasted the Golden Knights by a score of 5-2 in their last meeting. Subban was in the crease for that one, as he gave up 4 quick goals in the first period to bury the Golden Knights. Bad goaltending contributed to that loss, with the Golden Knights outshooting the Kings 46 to 23.
Vegas has been getting production from everywhere recently. Firing Gerald Gallant and hiring Peter DeBoer was met with criticism from the public, but DeBoer has the Golden Knights playing extremely well. They’ve been a well balanced team that hasn’t had to rely too much on their offence and defence. Everything seems to be coming full circle for them at the perfect time.
Subban won’t be around in Las Vegas on Sunday, and I’m sure that the Golden Knights still have that failure from January 9 fresh in their minds. Don’t expect them to come out slow and uninterested. That certainly hasn’t been the case during their eight-game winning streak. The Knights have recorded 4.1 goals per game and allowed 2.5 goals per contest during their run.
They weren’t beating up on cream puffs for the most part as well. The winning streak includes wins against the Blues, Islanders, Capitals, Panthers, Lightning, and Oilers. I think that’s the most promising sign of all for the Golden Knights. If they can keep up with the top teams, then the playoffs are going to be a good possibility. Home ice advantage is starting to return to T-Mobile Arena as well. The Knights haven’t lost at home since January 11 against the Blue Jackets.
LA enters with a bit of momentum after 2-1 win over the Penguins and Devils. However, I’m under the impression that this looks like a perfect letdown spot. Despite the two wins, the Kings have averaged just 2.5 goals per game in their previous ten outings, along with 3.2 goals against. They’ve gotten pummeled for 3.46 goals against while scoring just 2.29 goals per game on the road this year. Note that both of their recent wins came at the Staples Center. Note that the Kings are 0-3-0 on a back-to-back following a win. I’d look at the Golden Knights to get a 4-2 or 5-2 win at T-Mobile Arena as they ride a wave of momentum on Sunday.