The Stanley Cup Finals have been fantastic hockey so far. The Washington Capitals won their first-ever Finals game on Wednesday night and look for a 2-1 series lead against Vegas on Saturday as the series shifts to Washington, D.C. That city has hosted the Cup Finals just once before, in 1998, and the Caps lost both home games in being swept by Detroit. The Caps are Game 3 favorites at MyBookie and now series favorites in the NHL odds to win the Stanley Cup.
2018 Stanley Cup Finals Game 3: Golden Knights at Capitals NHL Odds & Pick
When: Saturday, 8 PM ET
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV: NBC Sports Network
Stream: NBC Sports Live
Radio: 98.9 FM (Vegas) / 106.7 FM (Washington)
Opening NHL Odds: Capitals -150, Knights +140 (5.5)
Why Bet on Vegas?
The Golden Knights haven’t lost back-to-back games in these playoffs yet and have just two road losses. They were, though, 3-2 losers on Wednesday at home with a chance to take a 2-0 series lead. The Golden Knights fell to 1-3 in these playoffs when trailing after two periods.
Vegas has played nine home games in these playoffs and have now scored first in all of them. James Neal opened the scoring in the first period of Game 2 with a beautiful wrist shot that rattled off the post before going into the net. Unfortunately for the Knights, they allowed the Capitals to score the next three goals. Neal finished the night with a plus-1 rating, three shots on goal and four hits in 17:07 of ice time. It was Neal’s first goal in four games and he’s up to five goals and five assists in 17 postseason games.
Shea Theodore scored the other Vegas goal; Theodore’s wrister through traffic on the power play cut the Capitals’ lead to 3-2 late in the second period. The Golden Knights then had a great opportunity to tie the game in the third frame when they had a 5-on-3 man-advantage for 1:09, but they couldn’t convert. Theodore finished the night with a minus-2 rating and two shots on goal in 22:04 of ice time. He has a point in each of these two games in the Stanley Cup Finals and three goals and six assists in 17 games this postseason.
Who Also Had a Tough Game 2?
Erik Haula accumulated 17 penalty minutes in Game 2. Most of those came from a slashing call and game misconduct at 20:00. Haula slashed Brooks Orpik, who needed stitches after the game. It’s not clear as of this writing if Haula will receive any supplemental discipline.
Marc-Andre Fleury allowed three goals on 26 shots. The loss put an end to his five-game winning streak. Fleury owns a 13-4 record with a 1.88 goals-against-average and a .939 save percentage in these playoffs.
The Golden Knights (8) and Capitals (7) totaled 15 goals in Games 1 and 2, the most combined goals in the opening two contests of the Stanley Cup Finals since 1982 when the Islanders and Canucks combined for 21.
Why Bet on Washington?
With the Capitals’ victory, there will not be a sweep in the Stanley Cup Finals for a record 19th straight season. The longest prior such streak (since the Stanley Cup Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939) was seven straight series, from 1953-59 and 1961-67.
The Caps are just 4-5 at home in these playoffs so maybe they prefer to stay in Vegas? Washington has now gone 20 games (regular season and playoffs) without consecutive losses as visitors, last doing so March 6-8.
In Game 2, Brooks Orpik scored the game-winning goal, which was very unlikely. Orpik’s shot deflected off a Golden Knight before beating Marc-Andre Fleury. His first tally of the postseason gave the Capitals a 3-1 lead midway through the second frame. Orpik finished with a plus-1 rating, two penalty minutes, three shots on goal and six hits in 19:13 of ice time. He’s up to four points in 21 games during the postseason. It was Orpik’s first goal in 220 games overall — since Feb. 26, 2016. It was Orpik’s third game-winning goal in 1,128 career NHL appearances (982 in the regular season, 146 in the playoffs).
How Did Ovechkin Play?
Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal to give the Capitals their first lead of the game (2-1) just over five minutes into the second frame. The Russian superstar finished with three shots on goal, five hits and one blocked shot in 17:16 of ice time. He’s also picked up at least one point in five of his last six contests. Ovechkin has accumulated 13 goals and 24 points in 21 postseason games. It was Ovi’s 59th career playoff goal, tying Paul Coffey and Stan Mikita for 34th in NHL history.
Braden Holtby turned aside 37 of 39 shots. The Capitals went into the third period with a 3-2 lead, but they had to kill off a 5-on-3 power play for 1:09 early in the frame. Holtby made one of the best saves in Finals history on Alex Tuch with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. Holtby now has a 13-7 record with a 2.19 goals-against-average and a .921 save percentage this postseason.
There was one piece of bad news from Game 2 as center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who leads all players in these playoffs with 25 points, never returned after exiting in the first because of an upper-body injury. He took a hit from Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb. It would be a huge loss if Kuznetsov can’t play in Game 3.
Latest Stanley Cup Finals Betting Trends
- Vegas is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
- Vegas is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Vegas’s last 6 games
- Washington is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
- Washington is 13-6 SU in its last 19 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Washington’s last 5 games
Expert Stanley Cup Finals Betting Prediction for Game 3
Teams winning Game 2 have gone on to hoist the Stanley Cup 74.4% of the time since the Finals went to the best-of-seven format in 1939. I picked Washington to win the Cup and will stick with that. My best bet is under the total in Game 3 with a slight lean to Vegas if Kuznetsov can’t play.