In the Western Conference Finals, the fairytale continues as the Vegas Golden Knights look to keep rewriting the history books by winning the conference and heading to the Stanley Cup Finals. Standing in their way is the Winnipeg Jets who are also making their first trip to the conference finals. This battle pits a rag-tag group of Knights against a Jets team with loads of talent.
For Vegas, they swept the Los Angeles Kings in the first round and allowed only 3 goals that series. In the 2nd round, they eliminated San Jose in Game 6 on the road by shutting them out. For Winnipeg, they dispatched their first round opponent the Minnesota Wild in 5 games. But, they then went through a 7 game heavyweight fight against the Nashville Predators and had to dig deep to upend the Preds on their home ice.
Vegas comes into this opening game having last played on Sunday, May 6th. The Jets just played Game 7 against Nashville on Thursday night. Vegas has the clear advantage in being more rested. And, that should bode well for their team especially with goalie Marc Andre-Fleury who has been absolutely amazing in these playoffs. Fleury has a 9.51 save percentage and is giving up 1.53 goals a game. Oh, did I mention that Fleury has also posted 4 shutouts in his 10 playoff games?
Now, Connor Hellebuyck has played great as well, but not nearly as lights out as Fleury. Connor has a .927 save percentage and a 2.25 gaa in the playoffs. He’s also posted 2 shutouts in 12 games.
On the road in the playoffs, Vegas is 4-1 and Fleury has only given up 12 goals. Winnipeg has gone 4-2 at home, but have scored 20 goals in the process.
The Jets are led by Mark Scheifele who has 11 goals in the playoffs and 16 total points. He was Winnipeg’s true road warrior as most of his scoring came on the road. However, his teammates Blake Wheeler and Paul Stastny have combined for 29 points in the playoffs, which has helped make the Jets a scary team on offense no matter where they are. Vegas has played 2 less games and don’t have the same high scoring offense. Their top 3 scorers have only totaled 32 points for the playoffs. But, the Knights do have a lot of speed that could tire out a Winnipeg team coming off 1 day’s rest.
In addition to goaltending, the Golden Knights also hold the advantage in killing power plays as their special teams unit has stopped roughly 85% of opposing power plays. A large part of that can be attributed to Fleury, but the defenders in front of him have also done a stellar job.
Vegas went 2-1 against Winnipeg during the regular season. The Golden Knights are 4-1 in their last 5 road games and 4-1 in their last 5 road games as the underdog. For the year, Vegas went 32-12 ATS on the road and finished 27-12-3 when the underdog. In the playoffs, Vegas is 8-2 against the spread and should be a threat to cover any spread with Fleury in the net.
If you can’t tell, I’m going with Vegas to cover the spread in this game and possibly pull off the upset win on the road. Winnipeg might have the depth to beat the Golden Knights in seven games, but Fleury is playing like the best goalie in the world and there has to be some tired legs on the Jets team.
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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