Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 PM EST.
5:05 PM EST. OT included. We backed the Devils in two consecutive games and ripped up both tickets but it’s not going to deter us from coming right back on them here. Both losses could have easily gone the other way, as New Jersey played well enough to win. The two goals that the Hurricanes scored on Friday night (one was an empty netter) were both deflections that Keith Kinkaid had no chance on. They played a highly energetic Panthers’ squad the night before in a 3-2 loss. The Devils have taken a page out of the Flyers book, as they have taken two minors or less in five straight games. Outside of a game against the Penguins, they have limited their opponents to an average of 27 shots on net in six straight. The Devils stock is lower than it should be because they have dropped four of six but three losses were by one goal (not including empty netters) and the other, a 4-2 loss to Minnesota was a game the Devils absolutely dominated. That New Jersey is a pooch at home to the Golden Knights is incorrect.
There is an old cliché that says if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and that’s exactly what the Knights did when they brought in some outsiders at the trade deadline. Adding Tomas Tatar doesn’t look like a bad move and we give the Knights credit for trying to add some veteran leadership and experience but didn’t they have more than enough of that already with guys like Marc Andre Fleury, James Neal and Deryk Engelland? Then they brought in a goon in Ryan Reaves and he cost the Knights a game already. Reaves was a good fit in Pittsburgh to protect guys like Crosby and Malkin but he’s not a good fit here. Perhaps most importantly is that the Knights success according to every player was that they all came here at the same time with a chip on their shoulder, as they felt like they didn’t get a fair shot prior for their previous teams. Now you bring in new guys and move out guys that have been here since Day 1 that went down that same path and it stirs the pot a bit. Imagine being tight with a guy like Brendan Leipsic, who arrived in Las Vegas the same time as everyone else, only to wake up to find he’s out and Ryan Reaves is in. There is a big difference between Vegas and every other team in the league for the simple reason that everyone came here at the same time and they were winning at an unbelievable pace. It might be different if they were a typical expansion team in last place but they weren’t. They were in first and they did it together. Management broke that up.
Vegas has dropped three in a row, which includes a home loss to Ottawa in a game they looked sloppy in, Even in the Knights’ 6-3 and 7-3 victories over Vancouver and Calgary respectively, they looked sloppy but ran into some weak goaltending. Vegas scored those 13 goals on just 59 shots on net. The Knights are facing a little adversity for the first time all year and the timing for a funk is not only bad, it’s difficult to snap out of this time of year because every team is playing their hearts out. Give Cory Schneider a game under his belt after 16 missed games and give the Devils a great chance to add a little more misery to Vegas’ first sign of trouble this season.
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