The Arizona Coyotes will take on the Vegas Golden Knights on the road Saturday in a battle of two teams tied at the top of the Pacific Division with 46 points each. The Knights are 20-15-6 this season, while the Coyotes are 21-14-4.
Both sides have been playing well this season and are looking to get into a rhythm as we approach the new year.
The Vegas Knights are favored in this game. As you can see from their records, these teams are very evenly matched, and the only advantage given to the Knights is the home ice.
The big story currently surrounding the Coyotes is the recent acquisition of All-Star forward Taylor Hall from the New Jersey Devils. The NHL was aware of Hall being on the move, and every team seemed to be throwing their hats in the ring for a chance to get him.
The Coyotes eventually got the deal done and have put together a formidable attack with him and veteran Phil Kessel.
The Coyotes currently do not have anyone on their injured list.
Leading the Coyotes so far this season has been Nick Schmaltz with 30 points, as he has tallied six goals with 24 assists. The 23-year-old has been a nice addition at center for Arizona and contributes to most goals on his line.
Connor Garland is leading the Coyotes in goals so far this season with 12. Arizona recently signed the 22-year-old forward to a two-year extension.
Antti Raanta will protect the crease Saturday against the Knights. Raanta has six wins this season with a .921 save percentage with a 2.70 goals-against average. Raanta has given up five goals over his last two starts.
Arizona is currently averaging 2.74 goals per game while allowing 2.49. It is almost entirely even with the Knights in terms of power-play percentage and penalty-kill percentage.
Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone have been leading the Knights so far this season. Pacioretty has 16 goals with 22 assists, contributing 38 total points. Stone has 37 points himself with 13 goals and 24 assists.
The leading goaltender for the Knights once again this season is veteran Marc-Andre Fleury. Despite allowing seven goals in his last outing, he has put together 14 wins this season with a .910 save percentage while allowing 2.81 goals against per game.
The Knights currently have Cody Glass and Cody Eakin on their injured list.
The Knights are averaging 2.98 goals per game while allowing exactly 2.98 as well. They are 2-3 over their last five games and have given up 11 goals in their previous two.
With both teams coming off losses in such a big game in their division, this should be a good game to see which team can put together a full three periods and jump out to a lead in the Pacific.
What To Expect
Just as you might expect, I believe this will be a close game between two solid teams that will most likely be decided by a goal. The Coyotes have a recent boost from the acquisition of Hall, but the Knights will enjoy a home-ice advantage.
I will take the Knights to get the win at home in this one by one goal, and this one could be decided in overtime.