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Vegas Golden Knights vs. Chicago Blackhawks
NHL: Tuesday, October 22, United Center, Chicago, Illinois, 8:30 PM ET
Vegas bounced back from a home defeat to the Nashville Predators with a pair of victories over Ottawa and Pittsburgh. The Golden Knights are currently in the 4th place in the Western Conference with 12 points after nine games, three behind Colorado and Edmonton. The duel with Chicago will be their second of a back-to-back as the Knights are playing against Philadelphia on Monday.
The Blackhawks, on the other hand, were on a two-game winning run, but they couldn’t make it three in a row as the Washington Capitals beat them 5-3 at United Center. They are 13th in the West with five points from six games. These teams have met six times since the Golden Knights joined the NHL, and Chicago never recorded a win over Vegas.
The Golden Knights booked a shutout road win over PittsburghVegas secured its sixth victory of the new NHL season and second in a row, but it was the first time for Marc-Andre Fleury to get a shutout. William Karlsson scored his first goal of the campaign, and it was a crucial moment in the game as it came just with 1:15 to go. It was a shorthanded goal and second for the Golden Knights before mark Stone set the final score, 3-0. Fleury recorded 29 saves. Stone is one of the best five players in the league in terms of points (G6, A6), and he is a constant threat for opposing goaltenders. Max Pacioretty has ten points to his name (G2, A8); Karlsson has eight (G1, A7) while Reilly Smith and Paul Stastny have seven apiece. Defenseman Nate Schmidt (knee) and Alex Tuch (upper body) are out indefinitely while Valentin Zykov is suspended until 11/29.
When you wish upon a star... 🌟🌸 pic.twitter.com/Nh4WdZwbaj— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) October 21, 2019
This season, Vegas has the 9th offense in the NHL that averages 3.44 goals per contest, and they are facing Chicago’s 19th defense that allows 3.33 goals per game. The Golden Knights are 5th team when it comes to powerplay conversion (30.0), while Chicago is the 29th team in the NHL in penalty kill percentage (66.7%).
Marc-Andre Fleury will start at the goal for the Golden Knights, and he is 6-2-0 as he faced 287 shots in the 2019-20 and allowed 19 goals (2.18 per game) and recorded 268 saves (.934 SV %) with one shutout. Fleury met Chicago three times in the 2018-19 campaign and won all three games with 2.98 goals allowed and .890 SV%.
The Blackhawks allowed season-high five goals in a loss to the CapitalsChicago wasn’t lucky enough to record the third consecutive win as they suffered a 5-3 defeat to the Washington Capitals at home. Even though they had 44 shots in opposite to Washington’s 30, the visitors got a victory thanks to excellent Braden Holtby. It was the second time Chicago allowed five goals this season and already the third home loss in five games. Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks in points with eight (G3, A5) while Alex DeBrincat, Alexander Nylander, Brandon Saad, and Erik Gustafsson all have four points apiece.
Chicago has the 16th offense in the NHL in 2019-20 that averages 3.00 goals per contest, and they are facing Vegas’ 6th defense that allows 2.33 goals per game. The Blackhawks are the 22nd team when it comes to powerplay conversion (16.7%), while Vegas is the best team in the NHL in penalty kill percentage (94.3%).
Corey Crawford will start at the goal for the Blackhawks, and he is 1-3-0 as he faced 129 shots in the 2019-20 and allowed 14 goals (3.58 per game) and recorded 115 saves (.891 SV %) without shutouts. Crawford met Vegas twice in the 2018-19 campaign and lost both games with 6.17 goals allowed and .848 SV%.
- 5-21 in their last 26 vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600
- 14-40 in their last 54 vs. Pacific Division opponents
- 2-5 in their last seven overall
- 4-1 in the last five games
- 6-0 in H2H games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Even though the Golden Knights are playing the second of back-to-back games, I am going with them in this one. Chicago did little to convince me they will be playoff contenders this season, and except for Patrick Kane, who is playing at his usual level, there are not many players who can make a difference for the Hawks. One of the worst teams in penalty kill percentage is facing the best team in the NHL in that segment, and I don’t think the hosts have a chance against a top 6 defense. Vegas didn’t lose to Chicago yet, and I am backing them to extend the unbeaten run in H2H duels to seven games.
Prediction: Vegas Golden Knights (-133)
Full-Game Total Pick
The total is set at 6.5, and I am going with Over for a couple of reasons. First, each of the six H2H encounters produced at least seven goals. Second, Vegas’ legs will surely be tired, especially late in the game, and I expect Chicago to exploit that. Although I backed the Knights to win, Chicago is capable of scoring three goals, which will be enough for Over bet. They scored precisely three in each of the previous three games.
Prediction: Over 6.5 (+145)