NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Golden Knights vs. Kings (Dec. 28)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Hutton
- The Kings host the Golden Knights on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
- The Golden Knights look to remain atop the Pacific Division as they are seven points clear of the fifth place Kings.
- Greg Liodice breaks down this matchup and shares his best bet below.
Golden Knights vs. Kings Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-135|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
After a long week off during the holidays, the Vegas Golden Knights travel to Los Angeles to take on the Kings. This will be the first time these teams face off despite playing in the same division, and both teams were playing fairly well before the break.
It’s been a red-hot December for the Golden Knights, who are looking to pick up where they left off after they went 8-2 in their last 10 games. The injury bug has hit them hard this season, but they’re mostly getting back their squad and taking back the Pacific Division dominance.
LA has had a bounce-back season after a couple lottery-bound years. In their last 10 games, the King have played .500 hockey, going 5-3-2, and place fifth in the Pacific Division. They’re only three points out of a wild-card spot, so the playoffs are definitely within reach still.
Golden Knights Have Righted the Ship
Vegas has been through a whirlwind these first three months. The Knights experienced their first sense of adversity when the injury bug hit them, and now they have four in COVID protocol (including Alex Pietrangelo and head coach Pete DeBoer).
It’s been a tremendous season for their top producers, with solid play from Chandler Stephenson, Reilly Smith, captain Mark Stone, Shea Theodore and Max Paxioretty. Pacioretty and Stone are day-to-day, though, so pay mind to the injury report before placing your bets. Either way, there is no deeper team in the league than Vegas. Just wait until Jack Eichel takes the ice, too.
While the start of the season was rough, Vegas is working its way back up. The Knights are among the the league’s top play drivers, posting a 2.96 xGF per 60 (expected goals) and have generated the second-most high danger chances out of anyone. Not only that, but they’ve also worked their way up from not scoring a power play goal in their first 10 games, to scoring at an 18.4% clip which is incredibly impressive.
With the offensive resurgence, goaltending has been a question for the Knights ever since trading Vezina winner Marc-Andre Fleury. Robin Lehner hasn’t held his end of the bargain this year, and backup Laurent Brossoit has struggled equally. Lehner has posted a .905 SV% and a 3.3 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected), while Brossoit has a .904 SV% and a 0.3 GSAx. It’s of note that Lehner is listed as day-to-day, so keep track of who takes the crease for the Knights.
Kings Looks Like a Playoff Team
Los Angeles is making its case as a playoff team once more, and have the production to back it up. The Kings will be without Dustin Brown and most likely Philip Danault due to COVID protocols, but guys like captain Anze Kopitar, Alex Iafallo, Viktor Arvidsson and Adrian Kempe have pulled their weight. I expect Danault to be back soon, and he has been a driving force behind the Kings’ resurgence. But he won’t be available tonight, which could pose a problem.
The Kings have had some solid production, but could be better at generating offense. They stand at the bottom of the league in expected goals per 60, with a 2.2 xGF, but are a top-10 team at generating high danger chances.
LA has also been fairly mediocre on the power play, scoring at a 17.3% rate. While there are positives here, there are also a number of things that the Kings can do much better on the offensive end.
Former Vezina and Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick, is having a resurgence in net. When thought to be on the decline of his career, Quick silenced the doubters and is now posting a .930 SV% with a 16.8 GSAx. Backup Cal Petersen has been out on COVID protocol, and Garrett Sparks came in, performing well in relief. However, given the long, extended break, I expect to see Quick starting out the gate.
Golden Knights vs. Kings Pick
A couple of questions come into this matchup for Vegas. Do we see Stone and Pacioretty? Who will be the first goaltender coming out?
Los Angeles will definitely have the advantage on the goaltending side of things, no matter who’s in net, but Vegas will have the upper hand on the offensive end. Will the absence of their coach pose a problem for the Knights? I can’t see it, as they’re rested and ready to continue their momentum.
Give me the Knights to cover as short favorites.
Pick: Vegas Golden Knights -135