Vegas Looks to Seize Commanding 3-1 Lead
With how the playoffs have transpired, it seems only fitting that after a pair of comfortable wins by the Vegas Golden Knights, it was back to nail-biting time as the masters of the one-goal games and overtime affairs struck again.
The NHL picks listed the Florida Panthers as the favorite in Game 3 and Carter Verhaeghe’s overtime goal allowed those going with Florida to cash in.
Things were under control when it came to trips to the penalty box. There were 15 penalties called, but all of them were minor penalties. There were no misconducts and the number of recorded hits were about half of what transpired in Games 1 and 2. The Panthers will continue to play a physical style of hockey. Can they do it while limiting the man-advantage opportunities for a Vegas team that has scored six power-play goals in the series?
Matthew Tkachuk, one of the front-runners for the Conn Smythe Trophy, stayed out of the penalty box on Thursday after picking up 36 penalty minutes in the first two games.
When looking at the NHL news, Florida defenseman Radko Gudas was considered to be questionable for Game 3. He was able to play and the NHL hits leader in the postseason did lead all Florida defensemen in short-handed time on ice despite picking up two penalties. Forward Eetu Luostarinen, who has missed each of the first three games, is questionable for Game 4. Vegas has no new injury concerns.
The Golden Knights are second in the playoffs with an average of 3.80 goals per game so keep that in mind when considering the NHL betting options heading into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Game 4 is set for Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers are priced at -120 to tie the series with a second straight win at home. The total is set at 5½ 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 -265 with Florida at +225 to rally and win the series.
Seizing the Opportunity
Everything was in place for the Golden Knights to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series when Jonathan Marchessault scored on the power play at 14:59 of the second period to give Vegas a 2-1 lead.
Marchessault, who now has points in his last eight playoff games, scored his fourth goal of the series and the lead held up deep into the third period before Tkachuk tied things with 2:13 left in the third period.
The last thing that the Golden Knights want to do is to give Florida hope that it can win the series by evening up the series. Look for Vegas to come out and try to take control of Game 4 early on.
With that in mind, go with the Golden Knights 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 4.
Ready to Bounce Back
The last time Chandler Stephenson played in the Stanley Cup Final, he did not score as the Washington Capitals topped the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in five games. He played a bottom-six role for that Washington team as he averaged less than 12 minutes of ice time in those five games.
It is a different deal now as Stephenson was second on the Golden Knights with 65 points during the regular season.
Stephenson topped the 20-minute mark in each of the last two games, but he had a forgettable performance in Game 3. Not only was he held without a goal or an assist, he was on the ice for all three of Florida’s goals in the overtime loss.
He has at least one point in three of the last four games in the playoffs after being held scoreless. Look for Stephenson to add to his total of 17 points in the playoffs.
He is priced at -145 to go over ½ points and that seems like something worth taking a shot on for those who bet online.
Marchessault on a Roll
There is a reason why Vegas’ Jonathan Marchessault is now the front-runner in the odds to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of this year’s playoffs, according to the NHL predictions. Actually, there are 13 reasons as Marchessault is tied with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl with 13 goals, the most in this year’s playoffs.
you can always count on Marchy pic.twitter.com/lYdABEuzFQ
— z – Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 9, 2023
Since the start of the 2000-01 season, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Overchikin are among 10 players with more goals in a playoff year than the 13 goals Marchessault has so far in this year’s playoffs.
He has goals in each of his last four playoffs games and he is priced at +155 to score a goal and +800 to score the first goal to remain popular among those taking part in NHL live betting action.
Ready to Rumble
Both the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights have been tough to stop in the third period as they rank first and second in goals scored during that period in this year’s playoffs.
It was a different story in Game 3 with Tkachuk’s game-tying and potentially series-saving goal the only scoring in the period. The teams traded first-period goals with Brandon Montour scoring his seventh playoff goal, tying him for the 12th most by a defenseman, to give Florida the 1-0 lead. Mark Stone of the Golden Knights tied the game with his eighth goal of this year’s playoffs and 31st career goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Those two goals made the first period the highest of the three periods. Don’t be surprised for the scoring to get going early in Game 4 as well.