Vegas (1-1) at Washington (1-1)
When: Saturday, June 2nd 2018
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBCS
Opening Odds: Washington -133/5.5
Capital One Arena was packed to the rafters Wednesday night during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, only the game itself was 2,400 miles away in the Nevada desert. That is how hungry Washington Capitals fans are for a championship. Fans will get a firsthand look at their team when they host Game 3 against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night with the series tied at one apiece. The Knights had plenty of scoring chances in Game 2, but the Capitals defense tightened up and didn’t allow many quality chances. Vegas had 69 shot attempts, but only 17 scoring chances, and of those 17, only seven were considered high-danger chances. Washington goalie Braden Holtby made the save of his lifetime, stopping Alex Tuch’s shot late in the game to preserve the 3-2 victory. Washington center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who boasts a league-leading 25 points in the postseason, suffered an upper-body injury in Wednesday’s victory and will likely be a game-time decision. The Capitals lost fellow center Nicklas Backstrom for a few games this postseason, but managed a way to succeed without him. Reilly Smith owns a goal and two assists in the series for the Golden Knights, tying fellow forward Jonathan Marchessault for the team lead with 19 points in the playoffs.
Vegas lost the battle in front of the net in Game 2 after scoring four of their six Game 1 goals near the crease. “They played a grittier game than we did,” head coach Gerard Gallant told reporters of Wednesday’s setback. Shea Theodore has a goal and an assist in the first two games of the series and leads the team’s defensemen with nine points in the playoffs while posting a +5 rating. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed seven goals in the first two games after yielding just six in the previous four. Vegas had a ‘Golden’ opportunity in the third period of Game 2 with a lengthy 5-on-3, but couldn’t convert and were just 1-for-5 on the power play.
Veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik scored Wednesday for his first goal since February 26th, 2016 (220 games) and leads all players this postseason with a +16 rating. Captain Alex Ovechkin scored his 13th goal of the playoffs in Game 2 to push his total to 24 points – second on the team behind Kuznetsov – and has hit the scoresheet in 16 of his 21 postseason contests. Ovechkin needs one goal to tie John Druce (14 in 1989-90) for the franchise lead in a playoff season. Center Lars Eller would get a bigger role if Kuznetsov cannot go. He recorded a goal and two assists in the Game 2 triumph and was a key contributor when Backstrom was out earlier this postseason.
The Capitals will be fine even if Kuznetsov can’t go or isn’t 100%. Washington has a lot of depth and Eller will get an increased roll. Fleury has not been sharp over the first two games and I fear he’s losing confidence, while Holtby is on his game. Look for Washington to continue to pound the boards and clamp up on defense. I like the Caps in this one.
Pick: Capitals -125
- Golden Knights are 6-1 in their last 7 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Golden Knights are 5-1 in their last 6 overall.
- Golden Knights are 25-7 in their last 32 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Golden Knights are 16-5 in their last 21 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Golden Knights are 6-2 in their last 8 road games.
- Golden Knights are 1-4 in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest.
- Golden Knights are 1-4 in their last 5 Saturday games.
- Capitals are 6-2 in their last 8 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Capitals are 19-7 in their last 26 Saturday games.
- Capitals are 20-8 in their last 28 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Capitals are 5-2 in their last 7 vs. Western Conference.
- Capitals are 94-41 in their last 135 home games.
- Capitals are 50-22 in their last 72 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Capitals are 25-11 in their last 36 overall.
- Capitals are 35-16-5 in their last 56 home games following a road trip of 7 or more days.
- Capitals are 17-8 in their last 25 games playing on 2 days rest.
- Capitals are 1-5 in their last 6 Stanley Cup Finals games.
- Under is 4-0-1 in Golden Knights last 5 road games.
- Under is 4-0-1 in Golden Knights last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Over is 3-1-2 in Golden Knights last 6 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Under is 6-2 in Golden Knights last 8 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Over is 3-1-1 in Golden Knights last 5 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Under is 5-2-1 in Golden Knights last 8 overall.
- Under is 5-2 in Golden Knights last 7 vs. Metropolitan.
- Under is 5-2-1 in Golden Knights last 8 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Over is 11-5-2 in Golden Knights last 18 games playing on 2 days rest.
- Over is 5-1-3 in Capitals last 9 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Under is 13-3 in Capitals last 16 vs. Pacific.
- Under is 4-1-2 in Capitals last 7 overall.
- Over is 8-2-1 in Capitals last 11 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Under is 4-1-2 in Capitals last 7 vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Over is 8-2 in Capitals last 10 Saturday games.
- Over is 4-1 in Capitals last 5 vs. Western Conference.
- Under is 3-1-2 in Capitals last 6 home games.
- Over is 23-8-3 in Capitals last 34 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game.