The Edmonton Oilers will be at a bit of a disadvantage on Friday in playing the second of a back-to-back as they visit the Vegas Golden Knights. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Edmonton Oilers vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Friday, October 22, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at T-Mobile Arena
Just four games on Friday’s NHL schedule and this Pacific Division matchup between Edmonton and Vegas are only one of the four in the late window. It’s my first preview of the season on Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and the Oilers but my second of the week on the Golden Knights – we recommended betting against them Wednesday at home vs. St. Louis and that worked out nicely.
Because the clubs are division rivals, they will play four times this year. However, they weren’t in the same division last year because the pandemic shuffled things around – Edmonton was in an all-Canada division -- so they didn’t play. Vegas hasn’t been in the NHL that long and the clubs have faced off 11 times, all in the regular season. The Knights lead 6-5 and are 4-2 at home. Vegas has won four of the past five overall on NHL picks.
First For Oilers This Season
All NHL teams will play in back-to-back situations a handful of times in a given season and tonight will be Edmonton’s first after a 5-1 win at Arizona on Thursday in the Oilers’ first road game of the year. Superstar and reigning Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid had two goals and an assist Friday. McDavid reached the 200 career goal mark, and the Oilers have opened a season with four straight wins for the fifth time since joining the NHL in 1979-80.
Among players to make their NHL debut with Edmonton, only three players needed fewer games to reach 200 goals than McDavid did in 411. Wayne Gretzky naturally did it fastest in 242. McDavid also joined Gretzky as the only Oilers player to have multiple points in the first four games of a season. McDavid is the clear favorite at BMR’s top-rated books to win another Hart Trophy.
Zach Hyman added two goals Friday, one shorthanded and one on the power play. Warren Foegele had the other. Mikko Koskinen stopped 25 of 26 shots in his first start of the year. Edmonton was 2-for-2 on the power play and killed off all of Arizona’s man-advantage chances. That’s how you win in the NHL.
No. 1 goaltender Mike Smith landed on injured reserve earlier this week with a lower-body injury suffered Tuesday against Anaheim, so the team called up someone named Stuart Skinner from the minors. He has just one NHL start in his career (last year, a win over Ottawa), and not clear if coach Dave Tippett will use Koskinen for the second time in 24 hours or give Skinner a shot. Might be Koskinen considering Edmonton doesn’t play again until Wednesday so he can rest up.
Edmonton has been shockingly good over the past couple of seasons in the second of a back-to-back, going 14-5 at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
Knights Still Injured Mess
Vegas is usually almost unbeatable at home in front of those rabid fans, but the reason I backed the visiting St. Louis Blues as money line underdogs on the NHL odds Wednesday was because the Knights were incredibly short-handed injury-wise, and thus I wasn’t shocked Vegas lost 3-1.
The team’s two best offensive players, Max Pacioretty and captain Mark Stone are both week-to-week with injuries and Pacioretty likely may not be back for 6-8. Forward Alex Tuch is on long-term injured reserve. Mattias Janmark was on the COVID list – more on him in a second.
Thankfully, the team got forwards Nicolas Roy, Brett Howden, and William Carrier all back from injuries on Wednesday. Vegas did have an impressive 43 shots but just the one goal from William Karlsson, his first of the year. The Knights were destroyed in the faceoff circle – Pacioretty and Stone are good there.
Robin Lehner stopped 35 of 37 shots in perhaps his best outing of the year. He’s 1-2-0 with a 3.41 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. Not great numbers. Not out of the question that backup Laurent Brossoit gets his first start in this one. There is another injury concern as well: Defenseman Alec Martinez left in the third period and didn’t return. He was not at practice Thursday. Martinez had 32 points last year in 53 games and two assists this season.
Thursday for the first time since going into COVID-19 protocols Oct. 11. However, he might need a few days for conditioning before playing. Vegas is 9-2 on the NHL's odds in its past 11 Friday games, but I’ll go with much healthier Edmonton on the puck line even in the second of a back-to-back.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.