The Vegas Golden Knights are finally finding some offense, carrying the momentum of a series-evening win into Thursday's Game 3 face-off with the Dallas Stars.
Continuing a trend from the conference semis, Vegas' embattled offense failed to score in Game 1 and got blanked in the opening period on Tuesday. Then, the Golden Knights hit their stride with three second-period goals in a 3-0 win.
For the rest of abe Insights' betting preview, continue reading below to find the best odds available at publication time, advanced stats to bear in mind, analysis of the main lines and more for Game 3 of these Western Conference Finals.
Date: Thursday, September 10
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Golden Knights 62%; Stars 38%
Spread: VGS -1.5 (+160); DAL +1.5 (-165)
Moneyline: VGS -165; DAL +160
Golden Knights netminder Robin Lehner has had shutouts in four of his past seven playoff starts, including the last two thanks to his 24-save performance in Game 2. It stands to reason he'll be in net again tonight after Marc-Andre Fleury got the nod in the opener.
Anton Khudobin has been filling in as the Stars' workhorse instead of trading off with Ben Bishop. While the latter is still banged up and trying to find his form, expect Khudobin to continue starting with one day of rest between these West Finals fixtures.
59.44 vs. 48.55: Per Natural Stat Trick, Vegas leads all playoff teams in Corsi percentage during 5-on-5 hockey, whereas Dallas ranks 17th out of 24 total teams. This is another way of saying the Golden Knights own opponents in shooting margin and, implicitly, puck possession.
14.98 vs. 12.95: But across the postseason, Dallas' shooting percentage on scoring chances has been better, ranking in the top third of the NHL. Meanwhile, Vegas has struggled in that area, especially of late, converting at only the league's 16th-best rate.
26.3 vs. 18.5: The Stars are consistently better on the power play this postseason, with a far superior conversion percentage that is illustrated in this stat matchup. The good news is William Karlsson's goal in Game 2 came with the man advantage.
What a roller coaster the Golden Knights have been on. It seems like they're either getting shut out, or they're the team keeping a clean sheet for 60 minutes against the opposition. That's a dangerous way to live in the playoffs unless you're always coming out on the better end.
Lehner's performance has remained steady even as the offense in front of him has often fallen short. Vegas has too much talent for that to continue. It seems more likely the offense-challenged Stars are going to revert to their regular-season struggles in the scoring department, as opposed to the Knights continuing this lack of production.
Game 2 saw the explosion Vegas has been waiting for, and considering the club basically sat on the puck for the remainder of the contest to secure the "W", there's reason to believe there's more where that second period came from.
For a group of Knights forwards that attacks so often and so well, even the elite Dallas defense is going to cave at some point. That's precisely what happened on Tuesday, and it could be a sign of things to come. Vegas boasts far more depth up front, and scored 46 more goals than the Stars throughout the 2019-20 campaign.
Dallas has fared better this postseason as underdogs, though. Before prevailing in Game 7 over Colorado, the Stars blew a 3-1 series lead. Maybe they'll feed off being counted-out underdogs entering Game 3 of the Conference Finals.
Dallas allowed the NHL's second-fewest goals in the regular season, and both clubs have played five of six periods in this series scoreless so far. With each goalie on top form and showing no signs of wilting, look for bettors to crush the Under goal total.
Either side of the puck line nets a solid return, but the clear hedging strategy is in plain sight. Based on how the odds are as of this writing, expect bettors to go for the Stars' moneyline and the Golden Knights' spread.
Note: Odds current as of 2:05 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 10.
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