After the first two games, the 2020 Stanley Cup Western Conference Finals are tied at 1-1. The third-seeded Dallas Stars upset the odds in the opener, but the top-seeded Golden Knights responded immediately.
Game 3 is set for Thursday night at Rogers Place in Edmonton and would be a joy to watch, so let’s see what van the sports bettors expect from the Golden Knights and Stars in this one.
The Golden Knights have no injury worries. The Stars are without goalie Ben Bishop and defenseman Stephen Johns, while another defenseman Taylor Fedun is listed as questionable after participating in Wednesday’s practice.
Vegas lost the opener 1-0 as a -160 fave and won the second contest 3-0 as a -170 fave. The Golden Knights are -164 moneyline favorites to win Game 3 on BetAmerica, while the Stars are +148 underdogs with a total of 5.5 goals.
The bookies expect to see a low-scoring affair, setting the price on the over at +118.
What’s at Stake?
With the series tied at 1-1, both teams will look to take control in Game 3. However, whoever grabs a victory will be still far away from the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals.
Both Vegas and Dallas needed seven games to escape from the second round. There could be some tired legs, but nothing extraordinary. The Knights will look to continue with a strong defensive performance and keep the momentum on their side.
We saw a proper defensive battle over the first two games of the series. Both teams took 25 shots each in the opener, while the Knights had eight shots more than the Stars in Game 2. Also, the teams combined for 96 hits in Game 1 and 92 hits in Game 2.
The Golden Knights netted three times in the 2nd period last Tuesday. They decided to switch goalies, so Robin Lehner blanked the Stars to improve to 9-4 on the postseason. It was his second straight shutout and third over his previous five starts.
Lehner has impressed, posting a 1.84 GAA and a .924 save percentage, so I would be surprised if he doesn’t get another start Thursday night.
On the other side, Anton Khudobin will guard the cage for the Stars. He’s 9-6 with a 2.82 GAA and a .912 save percentage this postseason.
The Stars’ offense was doing a terrific job against the Avalanche in the previous round, netting 28 goals in seven outings. However, they were averaging only 2.58 goals per game this past regular season, and the Stars struggled offensively in the previous two meetings with Vegas.
The Knights and Stars split their two-game regular-season series, while Vegas is 8-3 in its 11 encounters with Dallas since joining the league in 2017. I expect this trend to continue, as the Knights are a well-balanced team with a few top-notch forwards who can make the difference.
Also, Robin Lehner has been playing at the highest level, and if he continues with a strong performance, the Stars will be in big trouble. That’s why I’m backing the Golden Knights to win straight up at -164 odds.
I would avoid the totals even though the odds on the over look very attractive. As I’ve said, Lehner has been terrific, and Anton Khudobin has had some excellent displays over the previous few weeks, but you never know when somebody is going to struggle between the pipes.