2018 NHL Playoffs Preview: Winnipeg at Vegas Hockey Odds for Game 3

Posted by Jordan Walters on Wednesday,May 16, 2018 9:12, EDT in

The party city of Las Vegas has never had a professional sports team prior to the 2017-18 NHL season. The Vegas Golden Knights have become wildly successful and wildly popular in Sin City. It should be a raucous night there Wednesday as Vegas hosts the Western Conference Finals for the first time. The Knights are hockey odds favorites to take a 2-1 series lead.

How to Bet Jets at Golden Knights 2018 NHL Playoffs  Hockey Odds & Game 3 Info

When: Wednesday, 9 PM ET
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
TV: NBC Sports Network
Stream: NHL.tv
Radio: 1290 AM (Winnipeg) / 98.9 FM (Vegas)
Opening Hockey Odds: Knights -132, Jets +120 (5.5)

Latest NHL Betting Trends

  • Winnipeg is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games
  • Winnipeg is 19-6 SU in its last 25 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 6 of Winnipeg’s last 8 games on the road
  • Vegas is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games
  • Vegas is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games

Why Bet on Winnipeg?

Well, the Jets haven’t lost back-to-back games in these playoffs yet. They lost just one game in the first round vs. Minnesota and took Games 1, 3, 5 & 7 in the conference semifinals vs. Nashville.

Winnipeg vastly outplayed Vegas in a 4-2 Game 1 win but was vastly outplayed in a 3-1 Game 2 loss. Rookie Kyle Connor scored the lone goal. The Jets couldn’t solve Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the first two periods, but Connor managed to cut their deficit to 2-1 with a power-play goal at the 7:17 mark of the third frame. Nikolaj Ehlers and Tyler Myers registered the assists on Winnipeg’s only goal. Connor finished the night with a minus-1 rating and four shots on goal in 17:43 of ice time. The 21-year-old is up to three goals and nine points in 14 games this postseason.

Connor Hellebuyck allowed three goals on 28 shots. It was the first time in three games that Hellebuyck allowed more than two goals. He owns a 9-5 record with a 2.29 goals-against-average and a .924 save percentage this postseason.

Will the Jets Start Off Strong?

Starting the game strong is a hallmark of both clubs’ success during 2018 post-season play. Winnipeg is 8-1-0 when scoring first, while Vegas is equally lethal when striking the first blow, now 7-1-0.

“We were chasing the game again. Down two goals just made it tough,” said Jets captain Blake Wheeler, who was held without a Game 2 point. “It makes it tough to come back. One goal is different than two goals is different than three goals and so on and so forth. If you get down a goal it’s not the end of the world, there’s lots of hockey to play. When you start letting it snowball, that’s when it gets more challenging.”

Conversely, the Jets are 1-4 when surrendering the opening goal in the playoffs, 1-4 when down after the first period and 0-5 when behind after 40 minutes.

Why Bet on Vegas?

Are the Golden Knights a safe bet in Game 3 vs. the Jets?

Tomas Tatar found the back of the net in Monday’s win. Tatar was back in the lineup after being scratched in each of his team’s last three games. He gave the Golden Knights a 1-0 just over 13 minutes into the game when he squeezed a goal past Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck. Tatar finished the night with a plus-1 rating and two shots on goal in 10:14 of ice time. The goal was his first point of the postseason.

Jonathan Marchessault scored a pair of goals. Marchessault gave the Golden Knights a 2-0 lead at the 17:22 mark of the first period. He then extended his team’s lead to 3-1 in the third frame. He finished the game with a plus-2 rating, two penalty minutes and a game-high eight shots on goal in 19:13 of ice time. The 27-year-old has six goals and 15 points in 12 games this postseason. He’s now picked up seven points during his four-game point streak.

Marchessault, who established a career high during the regular season with 27-48—75 (77 GP), leads all Golden Knights players with those 15 points He became the 10th player in NHL history to collect at least 15 points in his club’s first trip to the playoffs. Marchessault needs four goals to tie the NHL record for the most by a player in his club’s first postseason appearance, a mark set by Dave Lowry with the Panthers in 1996 (10).

Who Made a Record in Game 2?

Reilly Smith collected the primary assist on both of Marchessault’s goals to boost his postseason totals to 1-13—14 in 12 GP. He matched the NHL record for the most assists by a player in his team’s first postseason appearance, set by Igor Larionov (5-13—18) in 1994 with San Jose.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 30 of 31 shots in the win. He turned aside all 27 shots he faced at even-strength. The 33-year-old has a 9-3 record with a 1.68 goals-against-average and a .945 save percentage this postseason. He still hasn’t lost back-to-back games in the 2018 playoffs.

Fleury, the NHL’s postseason wins leader among active goaltenders, earned his 71st career win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to move into a tie with Jacques Plante for ninth place on the NHL’s all-time list. He improved to 35-17 in his career following a loss in the playoffs, including a 3-0 record in 2018. Fleury was on the ice for 60:00 in Monday’s contest to boost his career postseason total to 7,658:28, jumping Chris Osgood (7,650:58) and Billy Smith (7,637:07) for the eighth-most playoff minutes played in NHL history.

Expert NHL Betting Prediction

When the Conference Finals/Semifinals are tied 1-1 (since 1974-75), the winner of Game 3 holds an all-time series record of 35-8. I believe that’s Winnipeg on Wednesday. Take under the total in the hockey odds.