Jimmy’s NHL picks record: 49-61-3
Friday, 10 p.m. ET
Free NHL Picks: Golden Knights ML and Under
Best Lines Offered: BetOnline
Since early December, the Vegas Golden Knights have been looking more and more like the team that shocked the sports world last season when, as an expansion club, they made it the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Capitals. Vegas started this season at +1700 to win the Cup but a sluggish start dropped them to +2000. If you’re smart, you’ll take a small future on them now and go heavier on the Knights to beat the Pacific Division rival Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
Despite having some key players out such as defenseman Colin Miller and forward Max Pacioretty, the Knights continue to look more like the Western Conference champs they are, and arguably the main reason is 34-year-old goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who continues to amaze. Fleury got his sixth shutout of the season and 23rd win with a 17-save performance in a 2-0 victory over the Kings on New Year’s Day. He has helped his team climb back into the hunt for the top spot in the Pacific and the Wild West.
The Ducks have had a similar climb up the standings over the last month, and one of the main reasons Anaheim is still being considered a contender is goalie John Gibson. Gibson and captain Ryan Getzlaf have held down the fort while the Ducks continue to battle injuries to key players as well.
Given the projected goalie duel between Gibson and Fleury, who were both named to the all-star team this week, and the injuries that affect their teams’ scoring, the “under” is a solid play here and so are the Knights to win a stingy one.
The Knights are 24-19 against the spread and 11-13 on the road. Vegas is 19-24 on the puck line and 8-16 on the road. In his second full season, forward Alex Tuch has come on strong after starting the season on injured reserve; he leads the team in points with 31 and is tied with Jonathan Marchessault for the team lead in assists with 17 each. William Karlsson leads the team in goals with 15.
The Ducks are 19-22 against the spread and 10-11 at home. Anaheim is 18-23 on the puck line and 10-11 at home. Getzlaf continues to lead the team in assists with 20 and in points with 29. Pontus Aberg and Ondrej Kase are tied for the team lead in goals with 11 apiece.
For the Knights, Fleury is 23-10-0-4 with a 2.48 GAA and .912 save percentage. Malcolm Subban got his first win of the season December 27 and is now 1-5-0 with a 3.10 GAA and .895 save percentage.
For the Ducks, Gibson is 15-11-0-6 with a 2.51 GAA and .924 save percentage. Chad Johnson is 0-2-0 with a 2.42 GAA and .911 save percentage.
For the Knights, Miller (upper-body injury) and Pacioretty (lower-body injury) are day-to-day. Forward Erik Haula (knee) is out indefinitely.
For the Ducks, goalie Ryan Miller is out six weeks with a sprained MCL. Forwards Rickard Rakell (sprained ankle) and Patrick Eaves (ribs), and defensemen Cam Fowler (face) and Korbinian Holzer (wrist) are out indefinitely. Forward Kevin Roy (upper-body injury) is still unable to practice. Forward Corey Perry (knee) remains out until at least March.
Final score prediction: Golden Knights 2, Ducks 1