2018 Stanley Cup Playoff Odds, Golden Knights vs. Jets Game1 Picks

Stanley Cup Playoff Odds

NHL Playoff Odds Winnipeg Jets vs. Vegas Golden Knights Game 1 Picks

By Rock Westfall

The Winnipeg Jets are coming off the thrill of a seventh game win at Nashville against the Predators to clinch what was one of the better playoff series so far this spring.  But now they must quickly recover and refocus.  Game One of their Western Conference Final opens just two nights after their series winning triumph in Music City.  The opposition will be the Vegas Golden Knights, the most remarkable and successful expansion franchise in any sport ever.  And with the hottest goaltender in the playoffs in Marc Andre Fleury the Golden Knights will be a tough out.  Winnipeg hosts Vegas in game one on Saturday night.

Vegas Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets Game One
Date and Time: Saturday, May 12, 2018, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
NHL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Golden Knights +1 ½ (-230), Jets -1 ½ (+190), Over/Under 5 1/2, Golden Knights +120, Jets -140
Golden Knights vs. Jets TV Coverage: NBC

This is the first game of the best of seven Western Conference Final.  Game two will also be in Winnipeg on Monday.

Players to Watch

Winnipeg center Mark Scheifele has had the hot hand in post season with 11 goals and five assists and a plus six.  In the regular season Scheifele posted 23 goals and 37 assists with a plus 19.

Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is another important man to keep an eye one. “Big Buff” has four goals and nine assists in the playoffs with a plus six and a powerful defensive presence.

A pair of centers, Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson, have led the Golden Knights all season.  So far in the playoffs Marchessault has four goals and seven assists with a plus seven.  In the regular season the Florida castoff had 27 goals and 48 assists with a dominant plus 36.  Karlsson was kicked to the curb by Columbus last summer and has four goals with six assists and a plus six in post season.  In the regular season he led Vegas with 43 goals and 35 assists with a plus 49.

Golden Knights left wing James Neal was their top clutch goal scorer starting with their first ever game in a win at Dallas.  Neal had 25 goals in the regular season with three goals and four assists in the post season.

Goalie Report

Vegas netminder Marc Andre Fleury has been the most dominant goalie in the NHL playoffs so far with a save percentage of an eye-popping .951 and four shutouts with a goals against average of 1.53.  Fleury has won eight out of his ten starts in post season.  During the regular season he posted a .927 save percentage with four shutouts and a 2.24 goals against average.  Fleury’s value goes far beyond numbers.  He is the marquee man of the franchise and its most recognized player.  He is a fan favorite that has shown the rest of the team how to conduct themselves as representatives of the franchise.  Fleury has three Stanley Cup rings from his days with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Connor Hellebuyck has enjoyed a breakout season as a goaltender to be relied upon for the Winnipeg Jets.  Hellebuyck has posted a playoff save percentage of .927 with two shutouts and a 2.25 goals against average.  In the regular season he had a .924 save percentage with six shutouts and a 2.36 goals against average.

Key Stats

Winnipeg was 32-7-2 at home this year with just 15 of their 41 home games going under the total.  The Jets ranked second in the NHL for goal scoring and fifth for goals against.

Vegas was a good road team with a mark of 22-14-3-2 with just 18 of their 41 away games going under the total.  The Golden Knights were fifth in the NHL for goal scoring and eighth for goals against.

Hockey Betting Picks

Golden Knights vs. Jets Free Picks

It’s understandable that Winnipeg would be a series favorite.  But its asking an awful lot for the Jets to fully reboot just two nights after winning a game seven at Nashville.  Look for well rested Vegas to take full advantage.

Golden Knights vs. Jets Pick: Bet the Vegas Golden Knights money line
Golden Knights vs. Jets Game Prediction: Golden Knights 4, Jets 2

 

NHL Hockey Lines, Penguins vs. Rangers Betting Picks

Hockey Betting Lines

Penguins vs. Rangers Picks

By Rock Westfall

Unconditional surrender was submitted by the New York Rangers on February 25 and 26 when they sent Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, and JT Miller packing at the trade deadline.  The white flag was raised with a public admission letter to their fans indicating the pain of a rebuild was to begin.  Playoffs are now a pipe dream for the Broadway Blueshirts and their fans for what could be years to come.  For the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, a post season berth is almost certain.  What is not certain is their goaltending situation as Matt Murray is out indefinitely.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers
Date and Time: Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
NHL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Penguins vs. Rangers TV Coverage: NBCSN “Rivalry Night”

Goal scoring was a problem for the Rangers before the trades and now it’s even worse.  New York ranks 20th in the NHL for goal scoring.  Even more problematic is a backend that lost its best defenseman in McDonagh.  The Rangers are 25th in the NHL for goals against. With three wins in their last ten games those metrics illustrate why they will be hitting the links next month.

The Penguins have been wildly inconsistent but have managed to catch the Washington Capitals for the lead in the Metropolitan Division.  Despite the absence of Murray, the Pens have beat the NHL odds in four of their last five games.  Over the total has paid in seven of their last ten games.

Injury report

Penguins goalie Matt Murray has been out since March 2 and his status remains indefinite.  Murray backstopped both of the Penguins Stanley Cup titles and his absence leaves an incalculable void.  Rangers backup goalie Ondrej Pavelec is out until mid-March with a bad knee.  Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is also battling a bad knee and will be out another couple of weeks for the Blueshirts.

Goalie Report

Filling in for Murray has been 22-year-old rookie Tristan Jarry.  Jarry has a .910 save percentage in 25 games this season.  However, in his last five starts he has shown signs of feeling the extra pressure with a slumping save percentage of .887.  Backup Casey DeSmith has a .919 save percentage in ten games.  Interestingly enough the Rangers did not trade marquee man Henrik Lundqvist at the deadline.  “King Henrik” remains the identity of the team.  The 12-year veteran has played better since the surrender with a save percentage of .927 in his last five starts compared to .916 for the entire season.  Alexander Georgiev is the New York backup with a strong .930 save percentage

Players to Watch

For the Broadway Blueshirts Lundqvist is clearly the man to watch.  He has held strong and not complained as the roster was gutted. He loves the Rangers and living in the Big Apple.  He continues to play with pride and represents the team with pure class.  Right wing Mats Zuccarello carries the offensive burden for the Rangers.  He leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and 34 assists.  Star power is the cache of the Penguins.  Boasting three top forwards in Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel they have an embarrassment of riches.  Defenseman Kris Letang is one of the best in the game.  Center Jake Guentzel and right wing Patric Hornqvist are important contributors, especially on the power play.  Malkin leads Pittsburgh with 39 goals and 48 assists.  Additionally, he owns 13 goals and 20 assists on the power play.

Special Teams

The Penguins have the top power play in the NHL.  The Rangers rank eighth for penalty killing though their unit is much thinner now than it was for most of the season.

Key Stats

Pittsburgh has controlled the cashier’s cage in this head to head series with 12 payouts in their last 16 meetings with the Rangers.  Eight of the last nine games between the Rangers and Pens have gone over the total.

Pittsburgh has left MSG with a sack of cash in seven of their last eight visits.  Just one of the last five games in New York between these teams has gone under the total.

Penguins vs. Rangers Free Picks

While Pittsburgh has been erratic without Murray they remain considerably deeper and more capable.  They are also playing for more.

Penguins vs. Rangers Pick: Bet the Pittsburgh Penguins money line
Penguins vs. Rangers Score Prediction: Penguins 5, Rangers 2