Tonight at 7 p.m. E.T., the upstart Vegas Golden Knights visit the Winnipeg Jets for the start of the Stanley Cup Western Conference Final series. The Knights have been a surprise, making their way through the first two series. In their initial postseason appearance, they took down the Los Angeles Kings in four one-goal wins. They then beat the San Jose Sharks four-games-to-two to get to this conference final matchup. In round one, the Jets beat the Minnesota Wild four-games-to-two, and then went seven before beating Nashville. Our Vegas plays Winnipeg Stanley Cup game one pick has the Jets at -149 and the Knights at +138. The over/under stands at 6.0.
In the playoffs, Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has played exceptional hockey. Across two-of-ten playoff games, he’s allowed four goals. Of the eight remaining, he’s notched four shutouts. In the four other games, he’s given up a total of nine goals. He’s been very stingy in goal. Fleury will need an exceptional game tonight for the Golden Knights to steal one on the Jet’s home ice.
In nine of 12 series games this far, Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck has allowed two or fewer goals. In three games, he’s allowed four or more. Two of those games ended up in losses. Thus far, Hellebuyck has had a good postseason. However, he has had a tendency to give up some soft goals. He needs to play solid hockey for the Jets to move onto the Stanley Cup Final series. We expect that in this home opener he’ll put in a solid effort.
Offense and Defense
The Knights have scored precious few goals in their first postseason. Center Jonathan Marchessault is tied with fellow-center William Karlsson for most goals with four. He also has a plus/minus of +7 and has notched seven assists. At 11, he’s tied for points with winger Reilly Smith. Smith has 11 assists and one goal. Along with scoring four goals, Karlsson has six assists for a total of 10 points. His plus/minus is at +6. Defenseman Nate Schmidt come into this game with five points and a plus/minus of +6. Winger Alex Tuch knows how to utilize a man advantage as three of his four goals have been on the power play.
On offense for the Jets, center Mark Scheifele and winger Blake Wheeler have been tough for other teams to control. Scheifele leads the team in postseason goals with 11 and points with 16, while Wheeler is tops in assists with 12. Center Paul Stastny, who at +9 leads the team in plus/minus, has accumulated 14 points, including eight goals and six assists. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is at +6 and has contributed four goals and nine assists. Defensemen Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba have at at +7 and +8 respectively in plus/minus. The Jets come into this game with a nicely balanced offense and defense.
Vegas Plays Winnipeg Stanley Cup Game One Pick
The Jets are at home, and they’re a deep team. Vegas has had fantastic goaltending, but they’ve lacked offense. We think that Winnipeg goalie Hellebuyck will have a sound game. Our Vegas plays Winnipeg Stanley Cup game one pick is the Jets at -149. We also like the under at 6.0.