Vegas (1-2) at Washington (2-1)
When: Monday, June 4th 2018
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBCS
Opening Odds: Washington -123/5.5
The Washington Capitals are breaking a lot of bad franchise trends this postseason and are only two wins away from hoisting their first ever Stanley Cup. The Capitals captured their first ever home victory in the Finals with a 3-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday and have now won back-to-back games after dropping the series opener. Washington won the President’s Trophy (most points in regular season) in 2016 and 2017, but bowed-out early. They didn’t come in with as high of expectations this year and the role of underdogs seems to be driving them. It didn’t look good early, as the Caps lost the first two games at home in the first round to Columbus, but have since been a team on a mission. Goalie Braden Holtby was on the bench for those first two contests, but has played every minute since, getting stronger with each game. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who left Game 2 with an arm injury, returned with a goal and assist in Saturday’s triumph to ensure this series will at least come back to D.C. for a Game 6. Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik also was in the lineup after he needed stitches to repair a finger injury sustained in Game 2. However, he wasn’t on the ice late in the game, receiving some treatment for an undisclosed ailment. Alex Ovechkin and Devante Smith-Pelly also scored for Washington, who lead the best-of-seven series 2-1. Ovechkin continues to come through with solid production, and it’s no surprise that he’s maintaining a high level of play during this high-profile time of the season. “You can tell by the expressions on his face all the time, his emotion,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said of his star winger. Tomas Nosek scored for Vegas, which has lost two games in a rows for the first time this postseason. Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 23 shots, but hasn’t been as sharp as he was in the first three rounds. The Knights played better defensively than earlier in the series, and head coach Gerard Gallant said tightening up the defense was one of the priorities. Special teams were a factor in Game 3, as the two teams combined to kill-off all six power plays (Vegas 0-2, Caps 0-4).
22-year-old defenseman Shea Theodore had a terrific regular season and postseason – up until Games 2 and 3. Theodore, who saw his broken stick lead to Kuznetsov’s goal at 12:50 of the second period, while his botched clearing attempt resulted in fourth-liner Jay Beagle setting up the Smith-Pelly goal with 6:07 remaining in the third. Theodore also didn’t do himself any favors by allowing Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen to skate past him, resulting in Marc-Andre Fleury to be whistled for tripping to negate a Vegas power play in the latter stages of the second period. The third line of Erik Haula, David Perron and James Neal were a combined -9, with Haula recording the lone two shots.
Beagle came into Game 3 with just one assist in his previous eight games, but collected a pair of helpers, including tapping the puck to Kuznetsov on a 2-on-1 rush. Holtby has allowed just three goals since being peppered for five in the series opener. Ovechkin matched a franchise high (John Druce) with his NHL high-tying 14th goal (Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele) to push his point total to 25 to reside two shy of fellow Russian Kutznetsov.
I believe the Capitals have the Knights on the ropes. Vegas isn’t playing with the same intensity it showed during this postseason run and Fleury has been a little shaky. Holtby seems to be getting stronger in net and the Caps are shutting down Vegas’ quality scoring chances. I like Washington in this one.
Pick: Capitals -125
- Golden Knights are 5-0 in their last 5 Monday games.
- Golden Knights are 20-6 in their last 26 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 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Golden Knights are 13-5 in their last 18 overall.
- Golden Knights are 37-16 in their last 53 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Capitals are 4-1 in their last 5 overall.
- Capitals are 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Capitals are 7-2 in their last 9 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Capitals are 6-2 in their last 8 vs. Western Conference.
- Capitals are 26-9 in their last 35 Monday games.
- Capitals are 21-8 in their last 29 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Capitals are 5-2 in their last 7 games following a win.
- Capitals are 80-33 in their last 113 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Capitals are 51-22 in their last 73 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Capitals are 95-41 in their last 136 home games.
- Capitals are 2-5 in their last 7 Stanley Cup Finals games.
- Under is 5-0-1 in Golden Knights last 6 road games.
- Under is 5-0-1 in Golden Knights last 6 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Under is 5-1 in Golden Knights last 6 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Under is 4-1 in Golden Knights last 5 overall.
- Under is 4-1 in Golden Knights last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Under is 7-2 in Golden Knights last 9 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Under is 6-2 in Golden Knights last 8 vs. Metropolitan.
- Under is 5-2 in Golden Knights last 7 Monday games.
- Under is 9-4-1 in Golden Knights last 14 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Under is 4-0-2 in Capitals last 6 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Under is 2-0-2 in Capitals last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Under is 2-0-2 in Capitals last 4 home games.
- Under is 5-1-2 in Capitals last 8 overall.
- Under is 5-1-2 in Capitals last 8 vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 14-3 in Capitals last 17 vs. Pacific.
- Under is 3-1-1 in Capitals last 5 Stanley Cup Finals games.
- Over is 8-3-1 in Capitals last 12 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Over is 23-9-3 in Capitals last 35 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game.