The Pittsburgh Penguins won a gritty contest by a score of 3-2 in Montreal on Saturday night. They erased a 2-1 deficit in the final period to force overtime and get the winning goal past Carey Price. The same couldn’t be said for their effort the following day at home against the Panthers. They looked dead tired and the Panthers were able to take advantage for a 4-1 win.
Tristan Jarry, who has looked so good in his rookie campaign, didn’t shine on Sunday. Jarry allowed 3 goals on 34 shots in a loss against fellow rookie goaltender, Chris Dreidger. The Penguins enter Las Vegas with a strong record of 25-12-5 and 55 points. Despite having to deal without Sidney Crosby, the Penguins have made it work for the most part.
Corsby is travelling with the team on this west coast trip. There is a chance that he might suit up, though it’s unlikely that it comes tonight against the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. A better timeline for his return will be versus the Colorado Avalanche on Friday or Sunday in Arizona against the Coyotes. The Penguins will have a couple of days off after this contest, so that will give Crosby a bit more time to prepare for his return. They won’t play against the Coyotes until Sunday. That’s the good news for the Penguins, but they’ve also had to accept bad news.
The Penguins’ leading point getter, Jake Guentzel, is out for 4-6 months. That’s 43 points worth of production on the shelf. It would have been nice to get Crosby and Guentzel back in the lineup at the same time, but that may have to wait until next year. There’s an outside chance that he can return for a portion of the playoffs, though. It’s likely not going to happen in the first-round, so the Penguins may need a deep playoff run to see Guentzel again.
Vegas have been off since Saturday after an impressive 5-4 win in overtime against the St. Louis Blues. They got down by three goals, but didn’t give up and managed to take a 4-3 lead on the Blues. It ultimately went to extra time where Chandler Stephenson ended the contest in overtime with a pretty move. Stephenson has proven to be a dynamite acquisition for the Golden Knights. The former Capital has immediately made his presence known in Las Vegas. Solid role players like Stephenson are often needed to make a deep run, and he’s played that role well thus far. Head below for our free Penguins vs. Golden Knights pick.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Vegas Golden Knights Betting Odds:
Penguins vs. Golden Knights Prediction:
The Golden Knights have to be feeling thankful that Crosby likely isn’t going to play tonight. They dodge a close bullet that makes the Penguins a significantly better team on the ice. Without Guentzel and Crosby playing, I’d argue the Penguins are a fairly ordinary team. And also keep in mind that the Penguins are down Nick Bjudstad and Justin Schultz. A completely healthy team and the Capitals might have something to think about in the Metropolitan. However, they’re catching a break with the Penguins battling injuries constantly. It feels like as soon as Crosby was nearing his return, Guentzel decided to get injured.
Marc-Andre Fleury will make his fifth start against his former team since getting selected by the Golden Knights in the expansion draft. Allowing Fleury to walk while retaining Matt Murray was a bad move when you look back at it, though the Penguins are confident in Jarry now. Fleury has been sharp when the Penguins come up on the schedule, as he’s posted a 2.26 GAA and 0.93 save percentage versus Pittsburgh. The Golden Knights are winners in three of five meetings, including a 3-0 win in October. Vegas were around -130 to -135 favourites then, and the Golden Knights weren’t playing as well as they are now and that was on the road.
The Golden Knights enter on a four-game winning streak, with the offence on fire recently. They’ve scored 5 goals in each of their previous three matchups and 4 goals in the 4-1 win over the Coyotes to get this hot run started. In their last ten outings, the Golden Knights have heated up for 4.1 goals per game. Pittsburgh has been scoring too, though comparing the Penguins before and after the Guentzel injury is difficult. They scored just 1 goal against a below average Florida defence, and barely got by in Montreal against a leaky Canadiens’ defensive unit without Guentzel.
Jarry has been electric for the greater part of this season, as he enters Las Vegas with a 1.99 GAA and 0.935 save percentage. However, are we seeing some variance take over recently? And do we have a big enough sample size to say that Jarry is for real? I’d say no. Jarry has allowed 3 goals in each of his last two outings, and hasn’t prevented fewer than 2 goals since December 17th against the Flames. Vegas have been flying around the ice recently, and not even a couple of solid defences like the Coyotes or Blues were able to slow them down. The Golden Knights should be able to handle a Guentzel-less Penguins squad at home tonight.