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.
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.
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.
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