NHL daily picks: Hoping for a Halloween miracle
Some weird things happened on Monday night. Not only did Vegas lose, but the Golden Knights lost another goalie to injury, meaning they will now start Maxime Lagace, their fourth-string goalie, against the Rangers on Tuesday night. The team was also forced to recall Dylan Ferguson, who was a seventh-round pick by Dallas in this year’s draft before being traded to Vegas, on an emergency basis. It was a bad night in general for goaltenders as there were 61 goals scored across the eight-game slate.
Last night’s action: The Coyotes won a game. It wasn’t easy, as the ‘Yotes blew a 3-1 lead in the final minute of the game and failed to convert on a power play in overtime, but they won for us. They really did. Elsewhere, we were lucky that Dallas escaped Vancouver with a win, despite being outplayed and we almost completed the sweep as Boston came back from 3-0 down to force overtime before losing in the shootout.
Alright, so Vegas is on the second night of a back-to-back and they are starting a goaltender who had an .883 save percentage in the AHL last season. Not a great recipe for success. And before you say that the struggling Rangers provide a decent matchup for a goalie making his first-ever NHL start, think again. New York, despite its slow start, is fifth in the league in expected goals for at 5v5. Still, it’s hard to get to this number. The implied odds above give Vegas a 33.9% chance of winning and that’s selling them a little bit short, even with their disastrous goaltending situation. Goalies are such weird, fickle beasts that its not out of the question (albeit unlikely) for Lagace to stand on his head for one night. It’s not an easy one to swallow, but the numbers say to bet Vegas so that’s what we’re here to do. God help us.
For a different (and perhaps, more rational) look at the Vegas-New York matchup, Stuckey’s got you covered here.
There’s no edge in the Coyotes-Red Wings game so that brings us to Minnesota vs. Winnipeg. The Jets’ defense is probably a bit underrated because their offense is so well-regarded, which is why it’s a bit surprising to see them generating so few scoring chances at 5v5 this year. However, Minnesota is one of the four teams with less xGF than Winnipeg to start the year. With Minnesota still not operating at 100 percent and starting backup goaltender Alex Stalock, I like the Jets for a play at this number.
Picks: Vegas +195, Winnipeg +124
Season to date: 26-31, -0.91u
[Photo: James Carey Lauder, USA Today]