Vegas Two Wins Away from First Stanley Cup
It is now or never for the Florida Panthers. A look in Game 3 would push the surprising Eastern Conference representative to the brink of elimination in the Stanley Cup Final. The NHL picks list the Panthers as the favorite in Game 3.
Florida had nearly 100 minutes in penalties in the third period of the first two games. The officials are clearly trying to keep things from getting out of control and Florida is being penalized for the after-the-whistle stuff that went largely uncalled earlier in the playoffs. Considering what is on the line, the Panthers need to continue to play a physical style of hockey without going over the line.
Matthew Tkachuk, one of the front-runners for the Conn Smythe Trophy, has 36 penalty minutes and one point in the first two games and that is not a formula for success for the Panthers.
At this time of the year, one-goal games are commonplace when it comes to the NHL predictions and it won’t be a surprise to see this game head in that direction after a pair of lopsided victories by Vegas in the first two games.
When looking at the NHL news, Florida defenseman Radko Gudas and forward Eetu Luostarinen are both questionable for Game 3. Vegas has no new injury concerns.
The Golden Knights lead the playoffs with an average of 3.89 goals per game so keep that in mind when considering the NHL betting options heading into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Game 3 is set for Thursday at 8 p.m. ET in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers are priced at -125 to cut the Golden Knights’ series lead in half. The total is set at 6 by the NHL betting lines.
According to the NHL playoff odds, the Golden Knights began the series priced at -120 to win the franchise’s first NHL championship. Now that number has moved to -550 with Florida at +425 to rally and win the series.
Panthers Ready to Howl
Game 3 is not an elimination contest, however a loss would put the Panthers in a dire situation of knowing that their next loss would end a remarkable postseason run.
The last time the Panthers had their backs against the wall, Florida took leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 before winning in overtime.
Expect the Panthers to play with a sense of desperation knowing what is at stake.
With that in mind, go with the Panthers to be the first team to two goals in this pivotal contest.
The NHL odds don’t have much of a difference when it comes to either Vegas or Florida being the first team to score twice in Game 3.
Ready for History to Repeat
When the Panthers were down 3-1 in the series against the favorite Boston Bruins and faced with needing to win the next three games to eliminate the team that had more wins and points in the regular season than any other team in NHL history, it was veteran forward Anthony Duclair who got things started in Game 5 with his first goal in this year’s playoffs.
Duclair, who missed the previous game, had no points in the series before that goal. Now he has four goals and seven assists and has points in each of the first two games of this series.
He is priced at +110 to go over ½ points and that seems like something worth taking a shot on for those who bet online.
We’re not sure if it has been mentioned at all during the first two games, but the Florida Panthers saw both Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault head to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
Marchessault had 30 goals in his lone season with the Panthers and he was selected in the expansion draft. Salary cap issues resulted in the Panthers trading Smith and a fourth-round draft pick to Vegas with the agreement that Florida takes Marchessault in the expansion draft.
In the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, Marchessault has three goals and an assist with Smith scoring a game in the series opener.
— z – Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 6, 2023
Marchessault is priced at +125 to go over 3½ shots, according to the sportsbook. That might be a risky bet. However, Marchessault has -160 odds to have at one point and it would be worth using that bet as part of a parlay. Those willing to go out on a limb could go with Marchessault having at least one assist.
Saving the Best For Last
So far in the first two games of the season, there have been as many goals scored in the third period as in the first and second periods combined.
Expect scoring chances to be harder to come by in this matchup, especially for the visiting Golden Knights.
Still, why go away from something that is working. Things could open up in the third period depending on where the game stands going into that period so it won’t be a surprise to see plenty of offense coming in the third period once again.