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Vegas was hoping to overtake the lead in the Pacific Division race on their two-game road trip that begins Saturday. Instead, the Golden Knights come into the weekend four points back of the division-leading Calgary Flames after losing their last contest. Vegas has compiled 58 points through 47 games this year and they are 7-1-2 over their last 10 games, however, the Flames and the San Jose Sharks have kept pace with at least seven wins over their last 10 contests as well. Can the Golden Knights keep pace in a heated division race with a win over Chicago on Saturday?
Vegas snaps win streak at seven games
The Golden Knights snapped a seven-game winning streak on Thursday night, losing at home to the San Jose Sharks 3-2. After Jon Merrill snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period, the Sharks took control of the game, scoring two unanswered goals 40 seconds apart to steal two points on the road. Tomas Nosek also scored for Vegas, while Marc-Andre Fleury turned away 24 of the 27 shots that were sent his way on the night.
— Vinnie Parise (@VinnieParise) January 9, 2019
Fleury is scheduled to be back between the pipes for the Golden Knights on Saturday evening. He comes into the weekend with a 25-11-4 overall record to go along with a 2.48 GAA and a .912 save percentage for the season. The 34-year-old has been more vulnerable on the road this year, going 11-7-1 away from home and his GAA is 0.80 goals higher compared to his home mark. He has already made two starts against the Blackhawks this season, winning both, while posting a 3.01 GAA and an .898 save percentage in those two contests.
Vegas is tied for 13th in the NHL in goals per game at 3.00 and they rank 17th in the league on the power play at 19.0 percent, however, that hasn’t stopped them from sporting a healthy +18 goal differential for the season. Instead, the Golden Knights have managed to survive on the strength of solid defense and terrific goaltending. They are allowing just 2.62 goals per game (3rd in the NHL) and killing off 83.8 percent of their penalties for the season (7th in the NHL) heading into this weekend’s matchup.
Chicago continues to tank
The Blackhawks lost for the fourth time in five games, falling in overtime to the Nashville Predators 4-3. Artem Anisimov scored late in the third period to send the game into overtime, while Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat also added goals for the Blackhawks in the loss. Patrick Kane had two assists and Collin Delia stopped 33 of 37 shots in defeat.
Delia is expected to be patrolling the crease once again for Chicago. Saturday’s contest will mark just his seventh start of the season and the ninth NHL start of his young career. The 24-year-old goaltender is 3-1-2 with a 2.49 GAA and a .939 save percentage in three starts this season.
Chicago enters the weekend in last place in the Central Division with just 40 points through 46 games and they sport an ugly -33 goal differential so far this year. The Blackhawks come in scoring 2.91 goals per game, but they are converting on just 16.8 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage (23rd in the NHL) and allowing a whopping 3.61 goals per game (30th in the NHL) in the defensive zone. They have also struggled in shorthanded situations, where they sport the worst penalty kill percentage in the NHL at just 73.9 percent.
- Blackhawks are 25-53 in their last 78 overall.
- Blackhawks are 22-53 in their last 75 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Blackhawks are 15-38 in their last 53 vs. Pacific.
- Golden Knights are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. Central.
- Golden Knights are 6-0 in their last 6 vs. a team with a losing record.
- Golden Knights are 7-1 in their last 8 overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Golden Knights have dominated this series, going 5-0 against the Blackhawks since the start of last season. Vegas has also been red-hot coming into this game, winning seven of their past eight games and going 18-4-3 over their past 25 games. Take Vegas to come out on top on the road in this matchup on Saturday night.
Prediction: Pick: Vegas Golden Knights -177
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams have gone over the projected total in each of their five total meetings heading into Saturday’s matchup. Vegas has gone over the projected total in nine of their last 13 road games versus a team with a home winning percentage of less than .400. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks have gone over in four straight games versus Pacific Division opponents and 12 of their last 16 games against Western Conference foes. Take the over in this Western Conference battle on Saturday night.
Prediction: Over 6