The Penguins are in the middle of a wobble.
After riding a 15-3-3 stretch into the holiday break, Pittsburgh has now lost five games on the spin (three in regulation), is sitting outside of the NHL playoff picture in the jam-packed Metropolitan Division, and lost starting goaltender Tristan Jarry to injury during its 2-1 loss to the Bruins in the Winter Classic at Fenway Park.
And this isn’t just some unlucky blip. Pittsburgh’s play has legitimately dropped off over the last five weeks. Since Dec. 1, the Penguins rank 25th in five-on-five goal differential, 24th in shot attempt rate, 18th in expected goals percentage, and 19th in high-danger scoring chance rate.
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Penguins vs. Golden Knights prediction (10 p.m. ET)
Vegas is going through a bit of a wobble itself lately, but the Golden Knights are generally still pushing play in the right direction at five-on-five. Vegas has skated to a 52.8 percent expected goals rate and 55 percent high-danger chance percentage since Dec. 1, despite dealing with a slew of injuries.
Jack Eichel seems set to return to the lineup and should provide a huge boost for the Golden Knights as they look to solidify their spot atop the Pacific Division.
Betting on the NHL?
This may seem like a good spot to buy low on the Pens, but Pittsburgh’s lack of depth and the injury to Jarry make Vegas the value side at home Thursday night.
Penguins vs. Golden Knights pick
Golden Knights moneyline, -120 (BetMGM)