The Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche leave Lake Tahoe and head to Denver to play one another for the fourth time in eight days on Monday night. The Avalanche have gotten the better of the Golden Knights in two of the first three games; however, each game has been decided by just one goal.
Expect another tightly contested matchup between these Stanley Cup contenders Monday night.
If you’re betting online on this contest, the Avalanche’s moneyline is -135 while the Golden Knights are at +115. The over/under for the game is set at 5½ goals.
Goaltending Has Been Hot
Both the Avalanche and the Golden Knights have benefited greatly this season from stellar goaltending. Veteran Marc-Andre Fleury has aged like a fine wine and is making NHL news by having one of the best seasons of his career in Vegas at age 36.
In the first three games against the Avalanche, Fleury has made 88 saves on 94 shots, resulting in a .936 save percentage. Fleury would have expected more than one win in three after posting those numbers; however, the goaltending for the Avalanche has been just as good.
Philipp Grubauer has 77 saves on 82 shots in the previous three games, posting a .939 save percentage. The Avalanche’s lone defeat to the Knights was a 1-0 loss on Valentine’s Day, a true battle of netminders where both Fleury and Grubauer played fantastic.
There’s been talk about some possible fatigue setting in for both goalies. However, I disagree, and I think it will be another low-scoring affair.
MacKinnon, Makar Lead The Way
Much of the Avalanche’s recent success can be attributed to their plethora of exquisite youth talent. Nathan MacKinnon has been a thorn in the side of the Golden Knights, scoring two goals, including a stunning end-to-end finish, and assisting on two others, helping the Avalanche to back-to-back wins.
MacKinnon missed the beginning of the season due to injury, but he’s quickly returned to his sizzling form, scoring four goals and adding 14 assists in just 14 games played.
On the defensive end, the Avalanche are happy to have Cale Makar back on the bench after he missed the past several weeks with an upper-body injury. Makar returned Saturday and finished with a +1 goal differential in the 3-2 victory.
In addition to being a top defenseman for Colorado this season, Makar is also one of the team’s leaders in points with a goal and 11 assists in a mere 12 games played. One of the smoothest skaters in the league, expect Makar to have a big impact on both ends of the ice Monday night after getting his legs back underneath him Saturday.
Power Play Key
The Golden Knights have struggled on the power play this season and especially in their three games against the NHL’s number two penalty-killers. The Golden Knights have to find a way to be more effective with a man advantage to help take some pressure off Fleury, who can not be expected to stand on his head game after game.
If the Golden Knights want to beat the NHL odds and win this game, they need more out of their power-play unit consisting of Mark Stone, William Karlsson, and Max Pacioretty.
Picks of the Night
Expect another low-scoring affair when Vegas and Colorado take the ice in Denver. Under 5 1/2 goals is the safest pick of the night with both netminders playing fantastic and Makar being back at, at least close to, full strength.
With their lineup finally looking healthy, the Avalanche (-135) should be able to hold off the Knights once again for their third victory in four. When doing your NHL betting, take Colorado and the under.