My, how time changes things. It was not two years ago when these two teams were the absolute fiercest of rivals in the NHL. They met in the playoffs in each of Vegas’ two campaigns in the NHL. Vegas winning in their inaugural season in six games en route to a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. But in year two, it was San Jose who got revenge. They overcame a 3-1 deficit to win a thrilling and controversial game seven and sent Vegas packing. But since then, things have not been great for the Sharks while Vegas has kept right on rolling.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks
Friday, March 5th, 2021 – 10:30 PM EST at SAP Center
Can San Jose Find A Capable Goalie?
The San Jose Sharks have lost three of four games coming into this game against the Golden Knights. That number alone does not tell the story of how bad the Sharks have been. In their last five games, they have surrendered…wait for it…twenty four goals. TWENTY FOUR. The Sharks have fallen off the map defensively and in terms of goaltending too. Martin Jones has been his typical, unreliable, erratic self, and Devan Dubnyk has not been much better in net for the Sharks.
It is hard to stress just how bad that kind of play has been on the back end for the Sharks. It puts their offense in an untenable position. This is a team that has probably made more than their fair share of mistakes in terms of how they are currently constructed, but the fact that Martin Jones was still a top choice in net coming into the 2021 season is an absolute joke.
Will The Vegas Freight Train Keep Rolling?
The Vegas Golden Knights are hot right now. So hot. Winners of four in a row, in contrast to San Jose, the Golden Knights have only allowed eight goals in their last five games. Vegas is playing absolute top tier hockey right now and there is little reason to think San Jose will be able to do anything to slow them down. The Golden Knights will be able to pounce on San Jose’s weak back end and go to work offensively.
That’s what Vegas likes to do, fly up and down the ice of offense, generating chances with ruthless aggression. Their defense is fast enough to keep pace when things turn the other way, but most importantly has been the play of the ageless wonder himself, Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury has turned the clock back yet again. In Robin Lehner’s absence, Fleury has played masterful hockey. He’s giving up less than two goals per game, he is saving 94% of his shots. He is simply playing sublime hockey.
I think current Vegas and former San Jose Head Coach Peter DeBoer would like to beat his old team in San Jose. Even though they’ve played the Sharks before, this is Vegas’ main rival over the last few years. Also, just motivation aside, Vegas is clearly the better team, I’ll back them to do what they do, which is roll against an inferior opponent, and not take their collective feet off the gas while doing so. Viva Las Vegas, baby!
NHL Picks: Golden Knights -1.5 (+128) at BetMGM