A new week of the NHL seasons is here, and Monday’s slate features two teams in the West Division aiming to keep their top-three positions. The Vegas Golden Knights (2-0-0; First in West) continue their homestand and hope to remain undefeated, while the Arizona Coyotes (1-0-1; Third in West) will look to play spoiler and build their first winning streak of the young season.
Here is a preview for tonight’s game between the Coyotes and Golden Knights, complete with odds and a free pick. This game is the first of four straight that these teams will play each other, all this week.
Arizona Coyotes Betting Preview: More to Give?
Last season was a step in the right direction for the Coyotes franchise. Arizona overcame a seven-year playoff drought with an appearance in the bubble last August. Better yet, they won their Qualifying Round matchup three games to one over the Predators, before losing in five games to the Avalanche. However, with the loss of draft picks from penalties, including this year’s first round pick, to players leaving in free agency due to cap trouble, it’s fair to wonder if the Yotes can return to the postseason or if more rebuilding is ahead.
Arizona suffered a number of losses this offseason, none larger than Taylor Hall. The star wing and former MVP was a big midseason acquisition for the Coyotes last season, but bolted for the Sabres in free agency after just 44 games total in the desert. Veterans like Derek Stepan, Carl Soderberg, Vinnie Hinostroza, and Michael Grabner also left town.
However, they did add a few players into the mix, including vets like Derick Brassard and Drake Caggiula. And of course, they return plenty of key players from last year. Right wing Conor Garland led the team with 22 goals last season, while center Nick Schmaltz led with 45 points. The once-elite Phil Kessel is still a capable goal-scorer, while Clayton Keller and Christian Dvorak hope to keep improving as well. Defensively, longtime d-man Oliver Ekman-Larsson provides plenty of stability, joined by the young blue-liner Jakob Chychrun and the goalie tandem of Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper.
In their season-opener against the Sharks, the Coyotes were down 3-1 with less than five minutes to go, Garland’s power-play goal being their lone tally. But Keller scored with three-and-a-half minutes left to put them within one, and Kessel tied the game with four seconds to go. However, Kuemper let up a pair of shootout scores as Arizona failed to complete their comeback. They did, however, exact their revenge against San Jose on Saturday, with Kessel scoring two more goals and Keller, Chychrun, and Barrett Hayton getting on the board as well as the Yotes cruised to a 5-3 win. Raanta drew the start that time, making 31 saves.
Vegas Golden Knights Betting Preview: A Shining Example
In three years of existence, the Golden Knights have continued to amaze. Following their back-to-back years of playoff appearances, including the historic run to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season, Vegas won the division again last season and claimed the one-seed in the bubble. There they quickly eliminated the Blackhawks and edged the Canucks out in seven games, but fell short of their second Cup trip after losing in five games to the Stars in the Western Conference Finals. Now headed into year four, there’s no good reason for the Knights to not be in championship contention yet again.
Vegas didn’t make a lot of changes this offseason, but the ones they did make were very impactful. Their big addition came in the form of former Blues d-man Alex Pietrangelo, who signed a seven-year deal in what was the biggest free agent deal in team history. However, the Knights did say goodbye to a couple of fixtures along the blue line in Nate Schmidt and Deryk Engelland, while also having to trade center Paul Stastny for cap purposes.
Of course, all six of their top point-producers are back and ready to continue to succeed. They include left wing Max Pacioretty, whose 32 goals and 66 points led the team, as well as right wing Mark Stone, who had a team-high 42 assists and was named the first captain in franchise history. Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, and William Karlsson continue to form one of the best lines in hockey, while defensemen Shea Theodore and Alec Martinez are one of the better duos along the blue line. In net, Marc-Andre Fleury will share the load with Robin Lehner, who was acquired in the middle of last season and re-signed to a long-term deal in the fall.
In the season-opener against the Ducks, Vegas broke the 2-2 tie early in the third period with Stone netting his first goal of the year. Pacioretty later provided some insurance with a goal before Alex Tuch’s empty-netter earned them the 5-2 victory. Two nights later, a more low-scoring affair ensued, as Anaheim held a 1-0 lead with under two minutes to go. However, Karlsson tied the game to send it to overtime, while Pacioretty finished a 2-on-1 break and scored the OT winner just seven seconds in. Fleury started the latter game after Lehner started the first one, racking up 21 saves.
Coyotes vs. Golden Knights Betting Odds & Lines
If you are looking to bet on this game at MyBookie, you’ll see the Golden Knights favored at -200, the biggest favorites on today’s NHL schedule. Meanwhile, the Coyotes are at +170.
The over/under at MyBookie is 5.5, with the O5.5 favored at -120. In addition, the points pread at MyBookie is Vegas -1.5 at +125, with Arizona +1.5 at -145.
Free Betting Pick
Vegas is the favorite and deservedly so, but it’s interesting seeing how wide of a favorite they are on the moneyline. The Knights were tied going into the third in one game and down with under two minutes to go in their second game against a Ducks team that isn’t very good. Meanwhile, the Coyotes haven’t suffered a loss in regulation yet and are a shootout away from being undefeated.
Although the Knights are at home and generally the better team, I think there’s a ton of value on Arizona tonight. The Coyotes played them well in two of their three meetings last season, and have enough scorers who can make plays happen. Based on that, I’m rolling with an upset pick.
Spooky Express Free Pick: Coyotes +170