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San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights
When and Where: Thursday, Jan. 10, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nev., 10 p.m. EST.
A pair of red-hot teams who are part of a three-way fight atop the Pacific Division collide in Vegas on Thursday night when the defending Western Conference champion Golden Knights look for a franchise record-tying eighth straight win as they face the San Jose Sharks
Karlsson’s point streak continues as Sharks roll on
San Jose (25-13-7) has won four straight and improved to 13-3-2 in its last 18 games after hammering Edmonton 7-2 on Tuesday night. Evander Kane, Marcus Sorenson and Joonas Donskoi all scored first-period goals for the Sharks, who have piled up 36 goals in winning six of their last seven.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) January 9, 2019
Erik Karlsson had three assists as he became just the fifth defenseman in NHL history to record an assist in 14 straight games. Karlsson, whose point streak covers San Jose’s last 16 games as he served a two-game league-imposed suspension for a hit to the head, has one goal and 24 assists during his run.
The two-time Norris Trophy winner has six multipoint games in his last seven starts, scoring that lone goal with 16 assists while registering a plus-9 player rating. Karlsson has recorded an assist on the power play in five straight games while San Jose has gone 7 for 16 in that stretch.
“To be honest, he’s not really shocking many of us,” Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon told The Associated Press. “We’re lucky enough to see him every day at the practice rink. Just a special, special player.”
Donskoi has scored seven of his goals in the last six games and is one shy of matching his career high of 14 set in 66 games last season. Joe Pavelski has a team-best 25 but just two in his last seven contests.
The Sharks are expected to turn to Martin Jones in net after Aaron Dell made 20 saves versus Edmonton. Jones, seeking to become the third goaltender with 20 wins this season, has a 2.61 goals-against average during a personal five-game winning streak. He has given up 13 goals and posted a .900 save percentage in that run.
Jones did not play in the only meeting between the teams this season, a 6-0 rout by the Golden Knights in Las Vegas on Nov. 24. He went 1-2-0 with a 3.32 GAA in three starts and four overall appearances against them last season.
Golden Knights look for second eight-game win streak in as many seasons of existence
In addition to its seven-game winning streak, Vegas (27-15-4) has a 10-game run with at least one point (8-0-2). The Golden Knights are trying to sweep their four-game homestand and improved to 9-1-3 in their last 13 at T-Mobile Arena after a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
🎥 Tuch on facing San Jose tomorrow: It takes a lot of mental preparation. We have to be on our toes. pic.twitter.com/4r2kAR1jXb
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 9, 2019
Marchessault, who scored 27 goals last season, ended a seven-game goal-scoring drought Tuesday night but has scored in back-to-back contests just twice this season.
One of the reasons Vegas is back at a championship level has been the presence of defenseman Nate Schmidt. After serving a 20-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy, the Golden Knights have gone 19-4-3 in the 26 games he has played and yielded 63 goals after going 8-11-1 while giving up 57 in the first 20.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who came 8:17 short of a shutout before finishing with 27 saves, is expected to be in net once more. He has been between the pipes in five of the seven wins during Vegas’ current run, conceding just six goals while posting a .956 save percentage.
Fleury recorded a 33-save shutout in the Nov. 24 win and was backed by two goals from Max Pacioretty in a four-goal first period. Fleury has won his last five starts versus San Jose and is 8-3-3 with a 2.04 GAA and .940 save percentage in 14 lifetime starts.
The Golden Knights are:
- 6-0 in their last six games following a win.
- 5-1 in their last six home games vs. the Sharks.
- 5-1 in their last six vs. above-.500 teams.
- The under is 3-0-1 in its last four games.
- The under is 10-4-2 in its last 16 games vs. above-.500 teams.
- The under is 3-0-1 in its last four home games.
The Sharks are:
- 6-21 in their last 27 road games vs. teams with an above-.600 home record.
- 1-4 in their last five games vs. the Golden Knights.
- The under is 4-1-1 in their last six games when their opponent allows two or fewer goals in the previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a confidence pick in Fleury, who is the hotter goaltender of the two and has shown a knack for rising to the moment ever since he set foot in the Vegas desert. The Golden Knights are playing a tight, disciplined game, and while the Sharks have been lethal offensively of late, Fleury is going to be a difference-maker in this one.
Prediction: Pick: Golden Knights -125
Full-Game Total Pick
It is possible San Jose held out Jones from the first meeting because he was not fully 100 percent due to a lower-body injury, but with him expected to start in this one, this game will be tighter than it would appear on the surface. The lone area of concern betting the under is San Jose’s power play given Karlsson’s current run of setting up teammates.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 6 goals
Half-Time Side Pick
While the return is not great at -205, it is hard to ignore a Sharks team that has tallied 58 first-period goals — good for second in the NHL. With Vegas in the middle of the pick in terms of goals for and against in the opening 20 minutes, grab the half-goal and try to get an in-progress win.
Prediction: Sharks +0.5 goals -205
Half-Time Total Bet
With the Sharks having potted 58 first-period goals, including 13 in their last seven games, and the Golden Knights having given up four opening-period goals during their seven-game winning streak, the hedge is the over delivers before the teams settle into a more defensive matchup.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 1.5 goals