Golden Knights vs. Coyotes NHL Preview

Mattias Janmark #26 of the Vegas Golden Knights eyes the puck. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP
Mattias Janmark #26 of the Vegas Golden Knights eyes the puck. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP


Vegas occupies the top spot in the West Division and is one of the hottest teams in the league right now, while the Coyotes are struggling to cop a postseason berth. Let’s handicap this divisional matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks.


Vegas Golden Knights vs. Arizona Coyotes

Friday, April 30, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at Gila River Arena

If Vegas was betting craps the house would be broke by now. The Golden Knights are on a 10-game winning streak and only one of those games was not won in regulation. Moreover, eight of the 10 victories saw the Knights win by two or more goals so even those betting the underdog on the puck line (+1 ½) cannot cash against this juggernaut.

In their most recent outing, the Knights defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 5-2, and it was a huge win over their nearest divisional rival, now leading Colorado by six points with only eight games remaining in the regular season.

William Karlsson drew first blood in the opening period with his 13th goal of the season but the Avs drew even with a goal of their own and entered the second period knotted at one. Max Pacioretty put Vegas ahead for good with a power-play tally in the second period and would get another before the game was through in Wednesday night’s win.

Despite getting outshot by Colorado, 37-26, the key to victory was standout goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury, who turned aside 35 of 37 shots. Speaking of goaltending, the Knights have it in spades and head coach, Peter DeBoer, has been religiously alternating Fleury and backup, Robin Lehner, since March 27th. If the pattern holds true, and we have no reason to suspect it won’t, we can expect Robin Lehner tending the twine on Friday night for the Knights.


Coyotes Pressing Panic Button

Arizona has lost nine of their last 11 games and hosting the hottest team in the league for two of their last six games remaining is hardly the elixir they were seeking. But that’s the hand they have been dealt and if they are to have any chance of skating into the playoffs then they will have to take care of business over the next week, and that includes a sweep over the Knights starting tonight.

But that won’t be easy, particularly if you review the season series between these clubs. The Coyotes are a dismal 1-5 versus the Knights this season and have been outscored, 20-13, in the process. The last time these teams faced off, the Knights claimed a 1-0 victory on April 11th and the Coyotes managed only 14 shots. Arizona netminder, Adin Hill, was stellar between the pipes in that one, turning aside 28 of 29 shots, in the losing effort.


Wanna Make a Bet?

It is easy to be reflexive in mismatches such as this but the NHL odds are there for a reason as it sobers us up when we want to bet the favorite hand over fist. In this case, we can see all the best online sportsbooks installing Vegas as a -195-road favorite on the early line. What we have to do is find out if there is any reason, other than the lofty return we would be getting on the home underdog, to bet the Coyotes.

The biggest mismatch in this contest is an impressive Vegas offense, averaging 4.5 goals per game over their last 10, versus a dismal Coyotes’ defense that has allowed 3.8 goals per game over the same number of games. Perhaps the only ray of hope that the Coyotes have, other than Vegas just flat out having an off-night, would be that Robin Lehner is likely to be in the net for the Knights. Although he is 2-1 versus the Coyotes this season, he owns a 3.66 goals against average over those three starts.

All of that said, it is not enough to dissuade me from laying the lumber on the hottest team in the NHL and watching them stomp an inferior foe, yet again.

Free NHL Pick: Golden Knights -195 at SugarHouse


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