Vegas Can Clinch Division Title
Playoff hockey in its first season?
The Golden Knights are spoiling Vegas hockey fans. Expansion teams don’t make the postseason, let alone win their division.
The Pacific Division leaders are seven points ahead of San Jose with four games left to play. If the Golden Knights (49-22-7) can earn one point from their game Saturday against the Sharks (44-24-10), the club will again make NHL history as the first expansion team to win a division title in its inaugural season.
Vegas is favored to win their second straight game when the two teams face off at T-Mobile Arena. It’s the last regular-season home game for the Golden Knights, even though fans know their new heroes will be back home for the postseason (odds provided by Bovada).
The Golden Knights edged the St. Louis Blues 4-3 in overtime on Friday night. Jonathan Marchessault, the team’s leading scorer, netted his second of the game and the winning goal only 22 seconds into the extra period.
It was just the second victory in five games for Vegas, which improved its home record to 28-10-2. The Golden Knights are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.
The Sharks, who are 8-1-1 in their last 10, played Vegas just over a week ago. They won 2-1 in overtime at the SAP Center. The Golden Knights, however, lead the season series 2-1. Even though they have lost two straight, the Sharks have one of the better road records in the NHL at 20-13-7.
The Sharks have a trio of scorers with 58 or more points. Brent Burns leads the team with 11 goals and 52 assists for 63 points. Joe Pavelski (20-41-61) and Logan Couture (32-26-58) round out the top three.
These two teams could easily meet in the playoffs, so this promises to be a tight game. The Golden Knights may have won on Friday, but they have been struggling of late.
VGB’s pick — San Jose (+110), Under (5.5)
Management Seeks Hometown Crowd
Vegas management is trying something different for home playoff games. Visiting fans have made a vacation out of hockey games during the season and taken over the arena in multi-day visits to the Las Vegas Strip.
Golden Knights’ executives, however, want an overwhelming hometown crowd for the postseason, so they are offering season ticket holders a better deal for playoff tickets if they vow not to sell them online. Those that still want to make them available on StubHub will pay a significant premium.
“We’re a destination city. During the regular season, it was a big part of our event experience. But the Stanley Cup playoffs, that’s a different time,” Vegas team president Kerry Bubolz told ESPN. “We want to do what we can to support the hockey side of our organization.”
The Golden Knights are listed at +375 to win the Western Conference title. The Nashville Predators, the conference leaders who are six points ahead in the standings, are the favorites at +175.
Where Can Fans Bet On Tonight’s Game?
You’re a first-time visitor to Las Vegas and you’re hanging out in The Park before the game. Where’s the closest sports book to make a bet?
The Park, a new dining and entertainment district, is located right beside T-Mobile Arena between two famous resorts on the Las Vegas Strip — New York New York and Monte Carlo. Both sports books are less than a five-minute walk from here.