The Vegas Golden Knights' woes on offense are continuing into the Western Conference Finals, and they'll need to find something fast against the stout Dallas Stars in Game 2 on Tuesday night.
Dallas took the maiden meeting 1-0, needing only defenseman John Klingberg's goal 2:36 into the contest to get the job done. But it seems only a matter of time before the sleeping giant from Vegas awakens for an offensive outburst.
Keep reading for the rest of abe Insights' betting preview, where you can enjoy listings of the best odds available across the marquee sportsbooks, advanced stats worthy of consideration, analysis of the key lines and a bigger-picture breakdown of Game 2.
Date: Tuesday, September 8
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Stars 42%; Golden Knights 60%
Spread: DAL +1.5 (-185); VGS -1.5 (+175)
Moneyline: DAL +140; VGS -150
Golden Knights netminder Robin Lehner should be Game 2's backstop after Marc-Andre Fleury logged 24 saves in the series opener. Lehner had three shutouts during the conference semis, and will need to be on top form to help Vegas' struggling offense.
Anton Khudobin once again proved he's the king of the crease off one day of rest. The Stars goalie led all of hockey in save percentage (.960) in such situations during the 2019-20 campaign, and will look to build off of Game 1's 25-save clean sheet.
27.3 vs. 18.8: Special teams are a big part of Dallas' playoff success, as they're converting more than one of four chances on the power play. Meanwhile, Vegas' mark with the man advantage is down from its regular-season rate of 22%, which ranked ninth league-wide.
70 vs. 56: The Stars do have a tendency to gift opponents with more trips to the sin bin, as they've accrued far more minor penalty minutes this postseason compared to the Golden Knights. If Dallas can be a little less chippy and not give Vegas four power play chances like in Game 1, it'll be easier to take a 2-0 edge.
.918 vs. .850: If there's one area to exploit Khudobin, it's on the power play. He ranked 34th among goalies who played at least 30 games in save percentage during the penalty kill, which is the second figure. Lehner tied Martin Jones for the NHL's best total (.918).
Another fascinating tidbit from Natural Stat Trick pertaining to the Golden Knights only: Vegas led the NHL in shots per game (34.5) but were just 21st in shooting percentage during 5-on-5 hockey (9.14%). They've experienced similar frustration of late amid their dry spell.
This fact still holds true from before the Knights and Stars initially faced off: Vegas has just one non-empty net goal since the middle of the second period in Game 5 against the Canucks. It's not for a shortage of quality chances or shots on net. For whatever reason, the West's No. 1 seed can't find the back of the net.
What's encouraging for the Golden Knights is they haven't wavered despite failing to get on the score sheet as often as they'd like. They're still in firm control of puck possession and have enough depth up front to weather the adversity.
To play devil's advocate to those points, though, Khudobin and Dallas just stared down the Avalanche's loaded attack and didn't flinch. A team with a predominantly defensive identity stepped up to win multiple high-scoring duels, so even if Vegas gets off the schneid, the Sheriffs have proven they can hang tough.
It'd be a stunner to see the Stars throttle the Knights once again. As mentioned, they're no stranger to answering goal flurries with eruptions of their own, as six of Dallas' seven conference semis contests featured seven or more goals scored.
Bearing all of that in mind, look for bettors to place more action on the Over. Regarding the other main lines, expect a greater dose of wagers to go on Vegas' spread and moneyline as the betting public anticipates a bounce-back performance.
Note: Odds current as of 2:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 8.
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