NHL Betting Preview Stanley Cup Finals Game 1: Washington at Vegas

Posted by Jordan Walters on Monday,May 28, 2018 10:18, EDT in

A total of 18 active franchises have won the Stanley Cup. There will be a 19th very soon as Washington and Vegas face off in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Sin City. The Caps are 0-1 in Cup Finals all-time and the Golden Knights are an expansion team. They are favored for this game on the NHL betting odds and to win this series to cap off a historic season.

Capitals vs. Golden Knights Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 NHL Betting Preview

  • When: Game 1, Monday, 8 PM ET
  • Where: T-Mobile, Arena, Las Vegas
  • TV: NBC
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • Live Stream: NBC Sports
  • NHL Betting Lines: Knights -137, Capitals +124 (5.5)

Recent Head to Head (Last 2 Games)

  • Score: Washington Capitals 1.50 / Vegas Golden Knights 3.50
  • Shots: Washington Capitals 24.50 / Vegas Golden Knights 29.50
  • Power Play Goals: Washington Capitals 0 / Vegas Golden Knights 1
  • Number of Power Plays: Washington Capitals 6 / Vegas Golden Knights 3
  • Power Play Percentage: Washington Capitals 0.00 / Vegas Golden Knights 33.33
  • Penalty Kill Percentage: Washington Capitals 66.67 / Vegas Golden Knights 100.00

Why Should the Capitals be your NHL Betting Pick?

The Capitals won just their fifth all-time Game 7 on Wednesday, 4-0 at Eastern Conference top-seeded Tampa Bay. Braden Holtby turned aside all 29 shots he faced. Holtby gave up four, three and three goals in Games 3, 4 and 5 of this series, but he managed to keep the Lightning off the board in Games 6 and 7, which is very rare in NHL history. He’s 12-6 with a 2.04 goals-against-average and a .924 save percentage in the postseason. Holtby wasn’t even the team’s starter to open the postseason.

Evgeny Kuznetsov heads into the Finals riding a 10-game point streak. The Capitals forward has picked up at least one point in every contest since Game 4 of Washington’s second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 26-year-old amassed 10 points in seven games against the Lightning and has 11 goals and a league-high 24 points in 19 games this postseason.

Everybody’s fine

Winger Devante Smith-Pelly said he’s good to go for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals after taking a Ryan McDonagh shot to the head in Game 7 vs. Tampa. Smith-Pelly added that his neck stiffened up after absorbing the shot and he could have probably returned to the game if the Caps weren’t up 3-0. Smith-Pelly has brought some physical play to the lineup combined with four goals and five points through 19 playoff games.

Andre Burakovsky is projected to stay on the third line for Game 1 vs. Vegas. Burakovsky came up big in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay with a two-goal performance. He has skated alongside Lars Eller and Brett Connolly for Washington’s recent practices. The Caps haven’t played in the Cup Finals in 20 years and Brooks Orpik is the only Washington player to have participated in a Stanley Cup Finals. He did with Pittsburgh nine years ago.

Why Should the Golden Knights be your NHL Betting Pick?

Going into the postseason, the Capitals roster had 902 games of combined playoff experience, 70.8 percent more than the Golden Knights (528).

Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury won three Stanley Cups as a member of the Penguins (2009, 2016, 2017), including one while playing with current Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik (2009). In fact, the only other player from either club (minimum one game played this postseason) who has skated in the Stanley Cup Finals is Golden Knights forward James Neal (last year with Nashville).

Fleury had undergone an offseason with the Penguins in 2016-17 and was replaced by Matt Murray in goal, leading to his being available in the expansion draft for the Golden Knights. But Fleury has bounced back with a sensational regular season as he was 29-13-4 with a 2.24 GAA and a .927 save percentage and has been even better in the playoffs with a 12-3 mark to go with a 1.68 GAA and a .947 save percentage.

The Vegas GM is George McPhee. While GM of the Capitals from 1997-2014, McPhee acquired 13 of Washington’s 25 players who have appeared in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Beyond center Jay Beagle (who McPhee signed on March 26, 2008), McPhee also drafted 12 current members of the Capitals roster.

Sleeping with the Enemy

McPhee is the first GM in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) and just the second in league history to face a former team of which he was GM in the Stanley Cup Final. The only other NHL GM to do so: Tommy Gorman, whose Canadiens defeated the Blackhawks in the 1944 Stanley Cup Final after Gorman led Chicago to the championship in 1934 (vs. DET).

The Golden Knights come in as the NHL Betting favorites for the Stanley Cup Finals Game 1.

Nate Schmidt, the No. 1 defenseman for Vegas, was a No. 7 defenseman for Washington until he was picked in the expansion draft. Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin was drafted by the Capitals.

Jonathan Marchessault has picked up 16 points in his last 11 contests. Marchessault had just two assists in the first round, but he really turned it on in the second and third rounds. The 27-year-old has been the main offensive catalyst for the Golden Knights.

Forward David Perron has not scored this postseason but has still made a difference. Perron, who missed two games against the Kings in the first round because of injury and two games against the Jets because of illness, has seven assists in 11 games after getting 66 points (16 goals, 50 assists) in 70 games during the regular season.

Latest NHL Betting Trends

  • Capitals are 6-1 in their last 7 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game
  • Capitals are 15-3 in their last 18 road games
  • Golden Knights are 36-15 in their last 51 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game
  • Golden Knights are 15-7 in their last 22 vs. Eastern Conference
  • Vegas was 2-0 vs. Washington this year.
  • Under is 4-1-1 in Capitals last 6 road games
  • Under is 5-1 in Golden Knights last 6 vs. Eastern Conference

Expert NHL Betting Prediction

I picked Washington in six in my overall preview of the Cup Finals, which obviously means the Caps would have to win once on the road. They have eight playoff road wins already, tied for the single-season NHL record. Make it nine on Monday.