The biggest mismatch of the early NHL regular season arrives Friday night when the lowly San Jose Sharks, on pace to be one of the league's worst teams ever and playing in the second game of a back-to-back, visit defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas with the Golden Knights looking to end their first losing streak of the season. The Knights are -550 at Caesars Sportsbook, the biggest spread of the season and in franchise history.
Again, it's important to note that all books have slightly different numbers, but it is generally agreed upon that the biggest money line in NHL history came on Feb. 15 last season when Toronto was -600 at home against a tanking Chicago Blackhawks team. The Maple Leafs won 5-2.
The most Vegas has been favored was a -500 line on Feb. 1, 2022, at home vs. Buffalo. The Golden Knights won 5-2 and are 3-1 all-time as at least a -400 favorite. The lone loss came on March 23, 2019, at home against Detroit.
We're going to see a lot of huge numbers against the Sharks this season, but I'm not sure there will be a bigger one unless they fall even further down the rabbit hole. We did tell you in this space Tuesday that a lot of things set up well for San Jose to get its first win of the season Tuesday against visiting Philadelphia because the Flyers were struggling mightily and without No. 1 goaltender Corey Hart. The Sharks wound up winning 2-1 behind 38 saves from Mackenzie Blackwood.
San Jose thus remained tied with the New York Rangers in 1943 and the Arizona Coyotes in 2017 and 2021 for the longest losing streak to start a season. That's different from longest winless streak because of course there used to be ties. That record belongs to those 1943-44 Rangers, who started 0-14 with one tie.
Shockingly enough, the Sharks then upset visiting Edmonton, which was roughly a -340 favorite, by a 3-2 score on Thursday. That's more about the utterly disappointing Oilers (if coach Jay Woodcroft isn't fired today, it's a miracle). Thursday was only the second time this season San Jose scored more than two goals. It hasn't topped three yet.
Vegas started its defense of the Stanley Cup title at 11-0-1, with the long loss coming in overtime to Chicago, but the Knights then suffered their first regulation defeat on Sunday in Anaheim (4-2) and their first regulation home loss Wednesday against an excellent Los Angeles Kings team (4-1).
Prior to the Kings game, Vegas ruled out second-line center Chandler Stephenson with an upper-body injury, and he'll miss Friday as well. He has two goals and eight assists. Defenseman Nicolas Hague (three points) hasn't played this month with his own issue. Fellow blueline Zach Whitecloud hasn't played yet this season but might debut on Friday.
The Knights have a true platoon system in net so it should be Logan Thompson starting on Friday. Adin Hill started Wednesday's loss. Thompson is 5-1-0 with a 2.31 GAA and .923 SV. Vegas won 4-1 in San Jose in the first meeting on Oct. 12 with Thompson in net.
Get more out of your SportsLine subscription!
- Picks: NFL | NBA | CFB | CBB
- DFS: Lineup Optimizer | Picks
- Early Edge: YouTube | Apple Podcasts
- Newsletters: SportsLine Daily | Fantasy
Qualifying SportsLine members receive a 30-day free trial of Paramount+ premium. Sync your account right here.
Share This Story