Why is Expansion Team Vegas Playing So Well?

Doug Upstone

Thursday, October 26, 2017 12:36 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 12:36 PM UTC

In a city that loves a winner, the expansion franchise the Vegas Golden Knights could not have dreamed up a better start to create a buzz for many skeptical locals, who know how winning streaks go.

Vegas has started 7-1 and defied the NHL odds as the best bet in the sport from an NHL betting perspective, up +8.3 units.

How could this possibly happen for a team that had never played together in a real game until October? First, as I have said here and other places, the Vegas front office did a great job in the expansion draft in acquiring players. Many players like James Neal, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith have played with that proverbial chip on their shoulder wanting to prove their old teams wrong.

Next, winning breeds confidence, and presently the Golden Knights do not think they can be beaten. Neither do the locals, as Station Casinos in Nevada reported there was more money bet on Chicago-Vegas game on Oct. 24 than the Jets-Dolphins NFL game two days earlier.

How long can this continue? You would not think much longer, with Vegas playing a third-string goalie because of injuries to the top two. In 5-on-5 hockey, the Golden Knights are 29th out of 31 teams in shot differential, which over time becomes an indicator of puck control and scoring potential.

Enjoy the ride for now, as since eventually Vegas will return to true talent level -- and once the injuries start piling up, the Golden Knights will be who they are: an expansion team.

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