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The Vegas Golden Knights are on a three-game winning streak.
The Florida Panthers have won three of their last five games.
The Golden Knights beat the Panthers 4-2 in their first meeting.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Vegas Golden Knights
38-19-6 (1st in Pacific Division)
31-27-6 (4th in Atlantic Division)
Chandler Stephenson (50)
Matthew Tkachuk (81)
Jack Eichel (23)
Carter Verhaeghe (32)
Chandler Stephenson (38)
Matthew Tkachuk (53)
Shea Theodore (18)
Eetu Luostarinen (19)
Jack Eichel (3.67)
Shots (Per Game)
Matthew Tkachuk (3.95)
The Vegas Golden Knights will travel to the southeast to face the Florida Panthers for the second time this season. These teams first met each other in mid-January, and the Golden Knights won 4-2. Vegas was down 2-1 heading into the final period but came back with three third-period goals.
The Golden Knights are having an outstanding season and lead the Western Conference with 82 points. However, a win today would still be quite helpful, as the Golden Knights are only two points ahead of the second-place Los Angeles Kings. Conversely, the Panthers are in fourth place in the Atlantic and three points outside the second Wild Card spot. Therefore, a win today could put them within striking distance of the playoff picture.
The Golden Knights are comfortably in a Playoff spot, but their numbers are not too impressive. Offensively, they are a touch above average, and defensively, they are barely in the top ten. Even though their numbers are not excellent, they are solid and good enough to give them one of the best records in the Western Conference.
The Golden Knights are led by Chandler Stephenson, Jack Eichel, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith. None of these players would be considered for the top ten, but they are all productive and have at least 40 points.
Adin Hill will likely get the start in the net for the Golden Knights. Hill is not an All-Star, but he is reliable, and Vegas wins when he plays.
The Panthers are underperforming this season. Last year, they were one of the best regular season teams, but this year it is unlikely they will make the Playoffs. Their offense is excellent, but their defense is below average, and their goaltending is inconsistent. The Panthers need to clean up their act on the defensive end if they want to make the Playoffs.
The Panthers are led by Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe, Aleksander Barkov, and Brandon Montour. Tkachuk leads this group with 81 points, and the other three have at least 50 points.
The Panthers heavily rely on Sergei Bobrovsky in the net. Bobrovsky has played in 41 games and has a .906 save percentage. He is not as dominant as he once was, but he is the best option for the Panthers.
The Golden Knights are not expected to win, but I would bet on them. Their numbers are more well-rounded than the Panthers, and they have won their previous two games against tough teams. Bet on Vegas.
The Golden Knights are the underdogs but will win if they score a power play goal and pass to Jack Eichel.
The Golden Knights are a decent offensive team but need to improve on the power play. They only convert 20.6% of their power plays and have not scored a power-play goal in their previous four games. This unit needs to step up in this game and score a goal. Vegas is playing on the road and must-see offensive production from their power play unit.
Jack Eichel is having an excellent season and has 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists) in 49 games this season. The center can do it all but will have little to no impact if his teammates do not pass to him. Eichel’s teammates must hit him with the puck and let him play his game.
The Panthers are the favorites but will only win if they have a tough defense and score the first goal.
The Panthers struggle on the defensive and give up 3.38 goals per game. They do not have many quality defensemen and did not trade for any at the Trade Deadline. Regardless, the Panthers’ defensemen need to improve their play this game and slow down the Golden Knights.
The Panthers have to set the tone early and can do so by scoring the first goal. If Florida strikes first, they will push the momentum their way and give their team additional energy.
I could have picked a few players for this, but I chose Reilly Smith. Smith is not the best player Vegas has to offer, but he holds his own. He plays a little over 17 minutes a game and has 20 goals and 20 assists. The winger is also coming off a one-goal game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Smith must play smart hockey and take advantage of his opportunities. He must take a shot when he feels like he has one.
Aleksander Barkov missed a little time with an injury this season but is having a solid season. The center has 16 goals and 36 assists in 50 games this year. He has taken on more of a passing role this season and must set his teammates up with some scoring opportunities this game.
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What - Vegas Golden Knights vs Florida Panthers
Where - FLA Live Arena, Sunrise, Florida
When - Tuesday, March 7, 7:00 PM EST
How to Watch - NHLPP, ESPN+
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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