Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals was one of the most exciting games I have watched in the last few years. It was non-stop action for all 3 periods with lead changes seemingly every minute. The pace was fast, the hits were brutal, and all of the stars came out to play. At the final horn, Vegas ended up winning the game 6-4.
The Golden Knights took Washington’s best shot and they were able to withstand the wave after wave of attackers all game long. Marc-Andre Fleury did not have a great game by his playoff standards. Although he was able to make big stops and preserve the lead in the end, Fleury did give up 4 goals and was lucky at times not to give up more.
The Vegas offense carried the team to victory in the opening game as they answered every goal that Washington scored. The Golden Knights peppered Holtby with 34 shots on goal and won 51.6% of the faceoffs. They also went 1-for-1 on power plays. Perhaps, the biggest surprise of the night was how the deeper lines for Vegas did the offensive damage like Tomas Nosek scoring 2 goals including the game winner. But, that’s not to overlook how even the top players for Vegas had to produce in order to win this game. Reilly Smith had a goal and an assist, Maschessault had an assist and Karlssson had a goal.
For the Capitals, their big guns also produced with Ovechkin tallying an assist, Kuznetsov having an assist, and Backstrom scoring a goal and producing an assist. Tom Wilson added a goal and is very lucky to be playing in Game 2 as he could’ve been suspended for his late hit on Marchessault. In my opinion, Wilson should be out for Game 2 as it was clearly a blatant cheap shot.
Neither team is blaming their goalie for giving up 9 total goals as the 10th one was an empty netter as time expired. But, for Washington to win on the road, they will need Holtby to not allow 5 goals in a game. Four of those goals game in 5-on-5 play, so you can’t use power plays as an excuse either.
For Vegas, they can’t expect to win many games 6-4 or even 5-4. They will need Fleury to keep the goals to 3 or less for the Golden Knights to consistently win, especially when they head out on the road.
I don’t see Game 2 being the same pace as Game 1. I believe things will slow down some and we will see more defensive and neutral zone control by both teams. I believe there will be an increase in penalties, which could produce more power play attempts for both teams. The goalies will keep the scoring down this game, so don’t expect a 10 goal total.
Vegas is now 7-1 SU at home in the playoffs and 16-1 SU in their last 17 games at home against teams with a winning road record. They’ve outscored their opponents 31-16 at home by an average of 3.8 gpg to 2 gpg. In the last 21 years, the team that has won Game 1 has gone on to win the Stanley Cup 16 out of 21 times. Additionally, the team that won Game 1 has gone 14-7 SU in Game 2.
I’m going with the Golden Knights again at home. I believe Fleury will bounce back and have a fantastic game where he holds the Capitals to 3 goals or less. Vegas has gone 9-1 SU in their last 10 home game, 5-0 SU in their last 5 playoff games, 12-3 SU after an opponent allows 5 goals in the previous game, and 4-1 SU in their last 5 games against the Eastern Conference. They’re finding ways to win and they’re nearly impossible to beat in the desert.
Although Washington is 13-2 ATS in their last 15 road games and 12-6 SU in their last 18 overall games, they’re 1-4 SU in their last 5 games against the Pacific and they gave Vegas their best shot in Game 1, but still ended up losing. The Capitals will play a tough Game 2, but will come up short again and this time it will be due to Fleury.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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