The NHL is set up for a busy night with seven games on the board for Friday night. The weekend should open up with a great night of hockey action. One of the games on the board will be between Pacific Division rivals in the Vegas Golden Knights and the Anaheim Ducks. This game will be on at 10:00 PM Eastern time.
The Golden Knights have started out the season with a record of 24-15-4, which has them in second place of the Pacific Division. Vegas has been streaking as of recently, winning four games in a row. The Golden Knights will look to keep that winning streak alive with another divisional win on Friday night. Vegas has won three divisional games in a row going into their game against the Ducks.
Anaheim has gone 19-15-7 to open up the season. The Ducks are currently sitting in fourth place of the Pacific Division. Anaheim has struggled recently, losing six games in a row. The last two losses for the Ducks have been in overtime. Anaheim will look to turn around that losing streak before it gets out of hand and knocks them further down the standings.
Friday night’s matchup will be the third game of the season between the Golden Knights and the Ducks this season. Vegas and Anaheim will meet up one more time on March 1. These two teams are still both in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, which should help lead to a close game on Friday night.
Last season, the Golden Knights and the Ducks met up four times. Vegas took the first game in Anaheim by a score of 4-2. The second game also went to the Golden Knights, this time by a score of 4-3 in a shootout. The Golden Knights also took the third game of the season series 4-1. The Ducks took the final game 2-0 in Vegas, which ended the season series 3-1 in favor of the Golden Knights. Vegas would go on to make a run to the Stanley Cup, while the Ducks were knocked out in the first round.
The Golden Knights hosted the first game of this season’s series. John Gibson had a big night, turning away 42 of 44 shots for the Ducks, but it would not help them overcome their offensive struggles. Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and an assist, while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 17 of 18 shots to give Vegas a 3-1 win at home.
The second game of the season series was also hosted by the Golden Knights. Anaheim still could not overcome their offensive struggles against Vegas. Cody Eakin had two goals, while Nick Holden and Alex Tuch each had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights. Marc-Andre Fleury had a 29 shot shutout to help give Vegas a 5-0 win against the Ducks.
The Golden Knights have had Anaheim’s number since joining the league last season. Vegas has gone 5-1 against the Ducks in the last two seasons. Anaheim is hosting Friday night’s game, which they will hope can help get them over the hump with a victory to end this losing streak.
The Golden Knights have had some issues with injuries recently. Vegas is without Erik Haula and Colin Miller for their game against Anaheim. Brad Hunt and Max Pacioretty will both likely be out against the Ducks. Pacioretty has been a big player for the Golden Knights, scoring 10 goals and adding 8 assists this season.
Anaheim has been hit hard with the injury bug so far this season. The Ducks are without Patrick Eaves, Cam Fowler, Korbinian Holzer, Corey Perry, and Rickard Rakell. Anaheim is also missing one of their goaltenders in Ryan Miller. Rakell was playing really well before he went out. He had 20 points in 30 games.
Anaheim is missing a lot of big playmakers in their lineup in Fowler, Perry, and Rakell. The Golden Knights have some good role players out, and a star in Pacioretty, but it does not match up with how badly the Ducks are limping. The Ducks will need some players to step up if they want to win against a hot Vegas team.
I believe that Marc-Andre Fleury will start in net for the Golden Knights on Friday night. Fleury has gone 23-10-4 in his 37 starts this season. He has posted a .912 save percentage and a GAA of 2.48. Fleury has six shutouts this season, one of them coming in their last win. Vegas will look towards their veteran goaltender to help lead them to a win on Friday night.
John Gibson will likely get the nod in net for Anaheim. Gibson has put up Vezina Trophy caliber numbers this season. He has a save percentage of .924 and a 2.59 GAA this season. Gibson has gone 15-11-5 in his starts this season. Gibson has been a big reason why the Ducks have kept afloat in the Western Conference amidst all their injuries.
Vegas has not only been dominant in their last four games, but they have beat up on Anaheim since entering the league. I believe the Ducks will end their losing streak and get a rare win against the Golden Knights on Friday night. Anaheim forced overtime against the Tampa Bay Lightning in their last game and have a big edge with Gibson continuing to play really well in net.
BetOnline has the Golden Knights listed as a -121 against the money line on Friday night. This implies that Vegas will win this game around 55 percent of the time. I believe that the Ducks will avoid falling down 3-0 in the season series for the second straight season. Anaheim is on a long losing streak, which is bound to end at some point. I am taking the Ducks as home underdogs on Friday night.