NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Golden Knights vs. Jets (March 15)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Nikolaj Ehlers.
- The Golden Knights travel to take on the Jets tonight in what opened as a pick'em.
- Vegas' injured list has been full all season, weakening its early status as a Stanley Cup contender.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
Golden Knights vs. Jets Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-110|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Vegas will head into Winnipeg desperately seeking a win, as the club's four-game losing streak has them clinging to the last wildcard spot in the Western Conference by a single point. This in a season during which the Golden Knights were expected to be a cup contender.
Winnipeg is amongst the teams nipping at the Knights heels, entering this game just four points back of Vegas, having played one less game.
Can the Jets find a massive result here and extend the Knights' struggles?
Can Vegas Turn Things Around?
Even considering the vast number of excellent players who have regularly been sidelined for the Knights, it's still very surprising to see this group sitting with a semi-realistic chance of missing the playoffs 61 games into the season.
The current road swing has been a disaster, with the Knights managing zero points through four games. Three of those contests came against non-playoff teams in the Eastern Conference, including a truly disappointing defeat to the Sabres in what was clearly a very tough pill for Jack Eichel to swallow.
Over the last seven games, the Knights hold just a 48.51 expected goals rate en route to five losses. Those numbers come against just two likely playoff teams.
The club's list of absentees will continue to feature a ton of crucial names here. It's starting to seem more possible that the roster without Mark Stone, Alec Martinez and Reilly Smith among others is less likely to entirely turn this thing around.
Max Pacioretty sat Sunday and is listed as day-to-day. That would be a crucial blow given how Vegas has struggled offensively both at 5-on-5 and on the power play.
Robin Lehner's absence in net certainly doesn't help anything either. We'll see him remain on the sidelines here, which will likely mean a start for Laurent Brossoit in net against his former club. Brossoit has played to a +1.2 Goals Saved Above Expected rating (GSAx) with an .899 save percentage in 23 games.
Jets Soaring Amidst Hot Streak
Winnipeg enters this one in the midst of a 5-2-1 hot stretch and has in turn put itself mildly back into the Western conference playoff race.
You're not going to hear me endorse this Jets group too heavily. It clearly has a less-than-stellar defensive core and some top forwards whose attention to detail in the defensive zone is far from stellar. What they have offered of late is beyond what Vegas has shown, though.
Over this eight-game push the Jets have managed a notably strong 55.06 expected goals rate, and the talented offensive core has put together some big nights.
Some of the improvement is surely from the return of Nikolaj Ehlers to the lineup, who has offered a notable boost with six points in six contests, including a goal and an assist Sunday against St. Louis. The Jets certainly offer some very capable scorers offensively who can help cover their shaky defensive play.
Connor Hellebuyck remains very solid in goal for Winnipeg, though. He has a +8.4 GSAx and a .908 save percentage in 50 games this season and should get the start here.
Golden Knights vs. Jets Pick
It's easy to think that Vegas has to be due for some sort of upswing moving forward based off of the name and reputation of this roster, but the play we are seeing continues to suggest otherwise.
Winnipeg's massive comeback overtime victory last time out seemed to be one that could spark the group moving forward, especially entering this game with a huge opportunity to greatly boost its chances toward an unlikely playoff run. It helps that the matchup is against a team that has clearly been out of form of late in the Knights.
The Jets have played better at home this season and do appear to own somewhat of a home-ice advantage. I think they hold value with this contest opening as a pick-em, even for someone who is admittedly low on this Jets roster, considering the recent form of the Knights.
Pick: Jets -110