The Vegas Golden Knights look to keep their storybook season going strong tonight at home against the Florida Panthers. They have their goaltender back, Marc-Andre Fleury, and surprisingly provided him with a nice record to come back to. Given all of the issues they had with the injury bug in net, it’s anyone’s guess how they manage to carry a 20-9-0. Remember folks, this is an expansion team, and not some proven team.
Fleury was expected to be the catalyst in Vegas, stealing some games along the way as they hoped to keep a respectable record. Flash forward to today, and they’re eleven games above .500 and looking like a playoff team. I said earlier in the year that they will hit the wall in the second-half of the season. However, the wall doesn’t look like it’s get any closer. After beating the Penguins the other night, can we consider the Golden Knights a contender now?
The fact of the matter is that it’s still early in the year. One bad stretch of games, and boom, they’re suddenly on the outside looking in. Nevertheless, they haven’t shown any signs of slowing down. The Knights have been a resilient bunch and have avoided long losing droughts thus far. Now that they have their starting goaltender back, we’ll see how much further he can take them. It makes you wonder what their record would be if Fleury was healthy throughout the entire year.
He was fantastic against his former team, leading Vegas to a 2-1 win over the Penguins. Fleury was in fine form and looked to showing no ill-effects of the long layoff or injury. James Reimer will get the start for the Panthers in net, as Roberto Luongo will be gone for an extended period of time with a groin injury. Tough break for the Panthers as he was playing well. Now it’s up to the former Maple Leaf. Let’s get to our Panthers vs. Golden Knights pick below.
Florida Panthers vs. Vegas Golden Knights Pick
The injury to Luongo was a deathblow for the Panthers season. He has carried them often this year, but I do not see Reimer being able to do the same. Going from Luongo to Reimer is like going from a Mercedes to a junker. Reimer needs to improve his numbers this year or he’s going to be out of a job rather soon. He will have plenty of time to do it with Luongo on the shelf. Reimer is entering Sunday with a putrid GAA of 3.48 and 0.896 save percentage. In his last five games, he’s allowed 15 goals.
Reimer must contend with a Vegas team who have been playing well on offence. Their offence is why they are where they are. Who could have foreseen that they would be averaging 3.39 goal per game? That puts them at 3rd in the NHL. It puts them ahead of teams like the Capitals, Blues, and Penguins.
I would have told you to go back to the doctor and get new meds if you told me that before the season started. The Panthers are 28th in the NHL in goals allowed per game, even with Luongo bailing them out frequently. The Panthers are hoping to catch the Knights coming off an emotional high after defeating the Pens, Fleury’s previous team. I could see Fleury having a bit of an off night after what was the biggest win as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights. Goals should be no problem against Reimer, though. I’d go with the OVER.
PICK: OVER 6 (-110)