NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Golden Knights vs. Kraken (March 30)
André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner.
- The Seattle Kraken welcome the Vegas Golden Knights to the Pacific Northwest for Wednesday's showdown.
- The Golden Knights, who are seeking their third consecutive win, are solid -170 ML road favorites.
- Greg Liodice breaks down the game and details why he's backing Vegas.
Golden Knights vs. Kraken Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-170|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The youngest teams in the NHL face off Wednesdaywhen the Vegas Golden Knights head north to face the Seattle Kraken.
These franchises have battled twice already this season, with Vegas coming out on top, so the Kraken will look to exact revenge in this latest meeting.
However, what a fall from grace it has been for Vegas so far. The team is having its roughest year since its inception five years ago. Yet, it says a lot about the franchise that its hardest year involves still being in the playoff hunt. The Knights are 4-6 in their last 10 outings, but have won their last two games.
On the other side, I think it’s safe to say Seattle didn’t live up to the expectations Vegas set as an expansion franchise. The Kraken currently hold the second-worst record in the league, as they build for the future in the Pacific Northwest.
Vegas Golden Knights
With the amount of talent they have, you’d expect the Golden Knights to be one of the top teams. Except, injuries to key players has really set this team up poorly this season. They’ll be without Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Reilly Smith and most likely Robin Lehner. That leaves the grunt work to Jonathan Marchessault, Jack Eichel, Chandler Stephenson and Shea Theodore.
Yes, it hasn’t been easy for the Golden Knights, but they can generate offense pretty well regardless. Scoring 3.14 goals a game, Vegas has a decent expected goals rate at 52.09 and is one of the better teams at creating high danger chances. The team is pretty average on the power play though, only scoring at a 19.1% clip.
Defensively, the Golden Knights are a pretty average side. They allow 3.01 goals per contest, but also yield the seventh-most high danger chances. Playing a man down is a toss-up as well. On the penalty kill, Vegas has a 78.6% success rate, which is just about the league average.
It’s hard to tell when Lehner will come back. He took the ice to practice Tuesday, but it he might not be in time for this contest. That would leave the net to goaltender Logan Thompson, who’s really shown like he belongs. The youngster has won five of his nine starts, with a .914 SV% as well as a +0.3 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected) so far this season.
Seattle is ready to move on to next season as it continues to build for the future. While veterans like Yanni Gourde, Jordan Eberle and Jared McCann are producing, acquiring Daniel Sprong has proven to be a spark plug for this squad. The Dutch forward has scored three goals in as many games with the Kraken.
One thing is for sure: Seattle has a good foundation of veterans and can eventually be a solid team. The problem is, this season wasn’t so good. The Kraken score 2.64 goals per game, with an expected goals rate of 47.38 overall. Having the man advantage hasn’t been so advantageous either, because on the power play, they only score 15% of the time.
Surprisingly, the team isn’t as bad as you’d think on the defensive end. Many believe had the goaltending been better, maybe Seattle would have won a few more games. The expansion side allows 3.52 goals per game, but is ranked eighth in high danger chances conceded. The penalty kill is no walk in the park, though, as the Kraken only have a 73.3% success rate.
On Monday, Chris Dreidger started for Seattle, so I’d expect head coach Dave Hakstol to go with Philipp Grubauer in this bout. The German net-minder has disappointed, although he has played better of late. After a Vezina Trophy nomination last season, Grubauer is posting historically bad numbers with an .889 SV% and a league-worst -31.2 GSAx thus far.
Golden Knights vs. Kraken Pick
Prior to their recent two wins, Vegas got shut out in two consecutive games. Now, it’s clear the Golden Knights are in desperation mode. They have every advantage over the Kraken that I don’t see any reason why they can’t pull this off.
Vegas is an average team on the road, but Seattle doesn’t do a good enough job at protecting its home ice with an 11-18-3 record. I also don’t think the Kraken will be able to replicate the offense they brought on Monday, when they earned a 6-1 win against a good Los Angeles Kings team.
It’s always a risky play to do a Puck Line bet. However, in this case, even though Vegas is hobbling into Seattle, it still has enough weapons to get past Grubauer, who’s underperformed all year. That’s why I think -1.5 is great value is this meeting.
Pick: Vegas -1.5 (+145)