Here are five NHL teams to watch in the week ahead.
Vegas Golden Knights
With Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and William Karlsson sidelined, the Vegas Golden Knights are about to face their biggest test in quite some time. If the players in the lineup can’t raise their game, the team could be heading for a disaster. The schedule isn’t all that tough in terms of the competition they’ll face, but that’s just it. The team can’t really afford to waste this part of the schedule because it won’t get any easier. Goaltending has been the only thing that has really held the team together. No young players have stepped up, and Alex Pietrangelo is struggling. Until Stone, Pacioretty and Karlsson return, the Golden Knights will have to score by committee. It’s very hard to assess this team in its current state, and that will make it tough to have much confidence in my handicap when the Golden Knights are involved.
After playing Tuesday night at Calgary, the Predators were off to Edmonton on Wednesday to continue a six-game trip on which they’ll land Friday in Vancouver before heading to Chicago to play the Blackhawks on Sunday. The Predators have only three home games in November and won’t be back in Nashville until Nov. 13, which will be enough time to play one game, say goodbye to their loved ones again and head on the road until Nov. 22. Nashville has only one back-to-back during this stretch, but it will be a grind nonetheless. Of course, the Predators have a world-class goaltender in Juuse Saros, so they’ll have a chance as long as he’s in goal, but this is not a good hockey team and Saros can take it only so far. Bettors should be cognizant of the tired spots the Predators will be facing throughout November.