For the first half of the NHL season, it looked like the Vegas Golden Knights were going to run away with the Pacific Division. The Knights kicked off the season on a 13-2 heater and looked dangerous under new head coach Bruce Cassidy.
But things started to come unglued around the holidays as the Knights dealt with injuries to key players like Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, Alex Pietrangelo, Zach Whitecloud, and Shea Theodore. Only eight players on Vegas have appeared in more than 45 games this season, compare to the New York Rangers, who have had nine players feature in all 49 contests this season and 13 who have played at least 45. We’re looking at two teams on opposite sides of the health-luck scale on Friday night.
The injuries and inconsistent play have caught up to the Knights, who now are in second place in the Pacific Division behind the Seattle Kraken.
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Golden Knights vs. Rangers prediction (7 p.m. ET)
With just one win in their last six contests and a 4-5-1 record over their last 10, the Golden Knights are in desperate need of some points before the All-Star break. And while their results have been pretty poor of late, there is a silver lining for Vegas.
The Golden Knights have been playing stingy defense over the last 10 games, allowing just 9.9 high-danger scoring chances and 2.35 expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 in that span. Those are both inside the top-five league-wide in that timeframe.
With so many players in and out of the lineup and a defensive-minded coach, it makes sense that the Knights are leaning on their structure to try and stabilize them until they get healthy.
You can expect Vegas to try and keep things predictable and low-event against the Rangers, who are no strangers to playing that type of game.
Betting on the NHL?
While the Rangers have the scoring talent to go back and forth with any team in the NHL, they’ve also played some tight contests of late. There have only been 34 total goals scored (4.86 average) in New York’s last seven contests, and that includes a 6-2 victory over Florida, and five of those seven tilts saw four or fewer goals scored in regulation. Furthermore, only 32 total goals have been scored at 5-on-5 over the Rangers’ last 10 contests. For a team with so much playmaking ability, the Blueshirts continue to find themselves in tight contests.
With Vegas missing some key play drivers and both teams focusing on keeping things tidy in their own end, this game has all the right ingredients for a bet on the under 6.
Golden Knights vs. Rangers pick
Under 6 goals (-104, BetRivers)
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