The NHL got scheduling right for the opening puck drop on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena. The newest expansion team, the Seattle Kraken, are in Las Vegas for a clash with the Vegas Golden Knights to open the 2021-22 campaign.
The Golden Knights played their first season in the NHL in 2017 and have already had a lot of success as a franchise. The team known as the Golden Misfits went the distance to the NHL Stanley Cup Final in their first season.
? DeBoer: I'm glad exhibition is over. We didn't go 0-7. We didn't go 7-0. The good thing is we got accomplished what we wanted. pic.twitter.com/UNqFUd9dcA
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) October 10, 2021
They were three games away from pulling off the unthinkable and winning as a rookie franchise. The Golden Knights were cut down by the Washington Capitals at T-Mobile Arena in five games after winning Game 1. Braden Holtby made a memorable save with his stick on an empty net to change the course of that series.
They aren’t the Golden Misfits any longer. The Golden Knights are a team that is expected to play successful hockey. They want a Stanley Cup in Las Vegas, and they’ve gotten close to achieving that goal.
Last season the Knights finished with a record of 40-14-2 and 82 points in the West Division. The Colorado Avalanche had a tiebreaker on the Golden Knights, so they had the No. 1 seed, which didn’t help them. In any event, the Knights lost in six games to the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals.
I think the Knights and their fans got a bit too confident in that series. Unlike their Stanley Cup run in 2017-18, the Knights were on the opposite side as favorites and expected to win. The Canadiens were the playoff darlings that came up short in the last round a season ago.
The biggest absentee on the Knights this season is Marc-Andre Fleury in the crease. The biggest fan favorite in the first four years of the franchise was sent off in favor of giving Robin Lehner the keys. It was clear that they were attempting to shed Fleury’s contract after signing Lehner.
It was a tough decision to trade Fleury, but with Lehner on the books as well, they had to find a suitor to take on Fleury’s big salary. The Knights weren’t going to extend Lehner and keep Fleury, as much as fans wanted to deny the possibility.
The stage is set. Your city. Your team.
Seattle, it's time. pic.twitter.com/3VAGUuRXBf
— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) July 21, 2021
The Kraken are dropping the puck on their inaugural season tonight in Las Vegas. The Knights know how it feels to be the new kid on the block that isn’t respected. In their first ever game, the Knights beat the Dallas Stars in Texas by a score of 2-1. Fleury stood on his head, and James Neal netted the first goal in franchise history.
Are the Kraken going to duplicate what the Golden Knights achieved? The expansion draft rules give a new team a fighting chance, but no one expected the Knights to do what they did. Given what Vegas accomplished, there could be too many expectations for the Kraken. Head below for our free Kraken vs. Golden Knights pick on October 12, 2021.
Seattle Kraken vs. Vegas Golden Knights Live Odds and Betting History:
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Seattle Kraken||+1.5 (-134)||+186||Over 5.5 (+113)|
|Vegas Golden Knights||-1.5 (+114)||-208||Under 5.5 (-125)|
|Team Data||Seattle Kraken||Vegas Golden Knights|
|Goals Per Game||0.0||0.0|
|Goals Against Per Game||0.0||0.0|
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Kraken vs. Golden Knights Prediction:
The Kraken named former Calgary Flame, Mike Giordano, their first captain in franchise history. Flames’ fans have to feel a little queasy reading that. Others will feel happy for the guy, who provides a great locker room presence.
Captain of the Seattle Kraken has a nice ring to it.
— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) October 11, 2021
The Knights did well with who they drafted, high character guys like James Neal, and the Kraken are following the same game plan. I like what the Kraken are doing with their first projected two lines.
Jaden Schwartz, Jared McCann, and Jordan Eberle should provide the Knights with solid production. Put Giordano and Jamie Oleksiak on the blueline, and the Kraken have something to work with in Las Vegas.
My concern with Seattle is their third and fourth lines. This is where the Knights should hold a considerable advantage. It’d be nice if Alex Tuch was healthy, but they should be able to overcome Seattle tonight without him. Tuch’s absence will impact them in more important games later in the year, though.
The first two defencemen pairings of Alec Martinez-Alex Pietrangelo, and Brayden McNabb-Shea Theodore provide Vegas with the upper hand tonight. Following Giordano and Oleksiak, the Kraken will lean on Vince Dunn and Adam on the blueline. Advantage Golden Knights.
Seattle Kraken vs. Vegas Golden Knights Betting Trends:
- FIRST GAME IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
- 36-15 overall in their previous 54 games as a favorite at T-Mobile Arena
- 42-16 overall in their previous 58 games at T-Mobile Arena
- UNDER is 4-1 in their previous five games versus the Pacific Division
- UNDER is 7-1 in their previous eight games versus the Western Conference
The Knights are confident in Robin Lehner to be the clear No. 1 and not share the pipes with Marc-Andre Fleury in tandem. For all of the criticism that the organization received for saying goodbye to Fleury, Lehner is not some kind of scrub.
What it came down to is that Fleury is a 36-year-old and Lehner is six years younger. Lehner recorded a GAA of 2.29 and 0.913 save percentage with the Knights last year. He floundered in the playoffs, though, as Fleury was more dependable of the two. Lehner posted a 3.62 GAA and 0.887 percentage in three games.
Expect Lehner to be motivated to prove himself to Vegas after the fan favorite was traded to Chicago. The Kraken are expected to counter with former Capital and Av, Philipp Grubauer. The 29-year-old could be in Vezina territory after a 1.95 GAA and 0.922 save percentage in Colorado last year.
Grubauer can’t expect to find the same level of support that he had with the Avalanche, though. Just blindly predicting the Kraken to do the same as the Knights did in their first season is asking a lot. In any case, Vegas set the bar very high for the expansion Kraken. In a tough trip to Las Vegas, look for the Golden Knights to have a 4-1 or 4-2 win at T-Mobile Arena. The puckline at +114 is quality value.