Golden Knights vs. Blues NHL Odds & Picks: Expect Goals in St. Louis (March 13)
Joe Puetz/Getty Images. Pictured: Alec Martinez (23) of the Vegas Golden Knights is congratulated by teammates.
- In a matchup of NHL elite, the Golden Knights look to continue a stellar start to the season against the Blues.
- Pete Truszkowski breaks down why he's expecting the over to hit on Saturday night.
Golden Knights vs. Blues Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-116|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday night and via FanDuel.|
Both the St. Louis Blues and Vegas Golden Knights are amongst the better teams in the NHL. Both teams sit comfortably in a playoff position if the season were to end today. However, neither team has been able to pull away from the teams behind them in the West Division due to inconsistent play.
These two teams played on Friday night with the Golden Knights coming out on top in overtime by a score of 5-4. Vegas blew two separate early, two-goal leads before tying the game midway through the third period and getting the winner in the extra session. What can we expect in the rematch on Saturday?
Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights sit atop the West Division with a record of 17-6-1 through their first 24 games. Vegas was considered among the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup at the end of the season, and not much has happened to change that thought.
Over the past few seasons, Vegas has been a dominant team analytically but didn’t exactly get the results to match that profile. Through the first half of this season, they’ve been slightly above average analytically, but their results have been elite.
Currently, Vegas ranks ninth in shot-attempt share, 10th in high-danger chance percentage and 15th in expected goals. The analytical profile is solid, but not quite to the level of their record. In the past, Vegas found themselves at the very top of these categories. They aren’t at that level yet this season.
Offensively, the Golden Knights are led by Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty. Stone is an elite two-way player while Pacioretty is a feared sniper. Alex Tuch, William Karlsson, Chandler Stephenson and Jonathan Marchesseault have also made solid contributions. They rank inside the top 10 in goals scored per game as well as 5-on-5 goals per hour.
Defensively, the team has been a bit fortunate. They rank in the bottom half of the league in expected goals against per hour, but only the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning are giving up less goals per game. A lot of credit has to go to Marc-Andre Fleury, who’s been outstanding for Vegas.
However, Fleury played Friday night and it seems unlikely Robin Lehner will be activated off the injured reserve in time for this game. There’s a possibility we see Logan Thompson make his first NHL start. Thompson has spent the better part of the last two seasons in the ECHL.
St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup in 2019 and are still looking to regain the form that led them to that championship. With a 14-8-5 record, the Blues have had a solid but unspectacular start to the 2021 campaign.
When looking at the analytics, it’s not hard to see why St. Louis has had an inconsistent start to the season. They currently rank 14th in expected goal-rate, 19th in shot attempt share and 20th in high danger chance percentage.
Usually known as a defensive-minded team that scores just enough goals to win games, that script has flipped for the Blues this year.
Despite ranking bottom 10 in expected goals scored per hour at 5-on-5, the Blues find themselves in the top half of the league scoring 2.51 goals per hour at even strength and 3.2 goals a night on average. A lot of this can be attributed to the hot start for some of their top players including David Perron, Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn, Mike Hoffman and Jordan Kyrou.
Defensively, the Blues still rank in the top 10, giving up just two expected goals per hour at 5-on-5. However, they rank in the bottom 10 in goals against per game. A lot of the blame has to go to the goaltending.
As the owner of a new six-year extension, Jordan Binnington has not played at a high level early in the year, posting a goals saved above expectation (GSAx) of -3.3. Binnington was beaten five times by Vegas on Friday, which means we should see back-up Ville Husso between the pipes for the Blues. Husso has struggled even more than Binnington, posting a GSAx of -6.4.
Golden Knights vs. Blues Best Bet
After a high-scoring back-and-forth affair on Friday night, these two teams will return to the ice on Saturday. This time, we’ll see two back-up goalies.
Husso has struggled for the Blues in his action this season, giving up almost 3.5 goals a night on average while stopping just 88% of the shots he’s faced. The Blues usually do a good job of limiting the chances against their goaltenders, but that’ll be a tough task against the talented Golden Knights.
In the other crease, Marc-Andre Fleury will probably get the night off. Robin Lehner was recently sent to the minor leagues on a conditioning stint, so he’s nearing a return but probably isn’t quite ready. The Golden Knights will likely turn to Logan Thompson who has spent most of his pro-hockey career in the ECHL. That’s the minor leagues of the minor leagues to those unfamiliar with the hockey minor-league system.
With the Blues' offense performing well and the Golden Knights defense leakier than usual, I think the Blues should be able to pot a few goals in this one as well. If we get the expected matchup of back-up goaltenders, I think we’ll see another flurry of goals on Saturday night.
Pick: Over 5.5 Goals