As the semifinal round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs draws closer to a conclusion, fans worldwide are ready for the semifinal round to produce a Stanley Cup Finalist. In this article, we have our NHL bets pick for this Tuesday, June 22nd. Will the Vegas Golden Knights keep home ice and defeat the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5?
On Sunday night, the Vegas Golden Knights expected to have better execution in Game 4 after losing the way they did in Game 3 on Friday. The Knights played way worse as the Montreal Canadiens dominated the opening stanza. The Canadians did not score in that first period but they might as well have.
Again, the expected goals for Montreal were high in that first period. This time, the Montreal Canadiens did not level off. What happened in Game 4 can be best described as other-worldly. When it came to high-danger scoring chances, Montreal dominated by a count of 17-0 in regulation. This was not a misprint.
The Montreal Canadiens killed the only power-play against them on Sunday and then scored seconds after. They have the league’s best penalty kill in the playoffs now at 92.9%. They are 11 for 11 overall in the four games versus the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights enjoyed several chances on the man advantage but hit a post and a crossbar on Sunday night.
The very fact that Vegas still won this game in spite of themselves was unexpected. Vegas had one dominant 77 second shift in overtime basically. Just like that, the series was tied.
That is why the Vegas Golden Knights are still solid home NHL bets for Game 5.
Ahead of this important Game 5 showdown, the NHL odds are out and they’re even more in favor of Vegas. The Golden Knights have been listed between -235 and -265, while the Montreal Canadiens are currently around +195 to +225. At this point, fans of either team do not know what to truly expect. Montreal played much better in Game 4 yet still lost. They played worse in Game 3 but won. Logic has flown out the window in this series and with few man-advantage opportunities at times, the series has de-evolved into a mucky mess.
However, Vegas found a way to even the series and took tentative control of it again. All it took was that one shift.
The game probably should not have ended this way. Vegas must get off to better starts. Relying on one or two excellent shifts in a contest is not optimal.
For NHL Picks, our best pick on Friday night features taking Vegas on the moneyline.
Vegas should win Game 5 on Tuesday. One of the big reasons is that Vegas has been the better when it comes to faceoffs (31-24 in Game 4). This is especially true in the defensive zone of Montreal. This eventually led to the overtime goal but more importantly,
“The only two high-danger scoring chances Vegas generated the entire game at even strength came in overtime.”
That’s because Montreal had trouble at the worst times when it came to defensive zone faceoffs. Worse, they would not only lose the faceoff, but Vegas would also find players open in prime shooting opportunities. Nicolas Roy had all day to shoot, get his own rebound, and convert his opportunity.
Vegas (even without Chandler Stephenson) have balance in their top six. Those two lines can generate chances. They just have to believe it.
The Las Vegas sportsbooks projected -160 to -165 odds for a Game 4, while Montreal was still a home underdog around +140. Earlier this postseason, Vegas was one of our better value picks to compete for the NHL Stanley Cup title. Now, Vegas temporarily resides above Tampa Bay.
Once upon a time, the Golden Knights were +250 after eliminating Colorado. Now, Vegas’ Stanley Cup odds are right near Tampa Bay, as they now hold +140 odds to be crowned the Stanley Cup champions. For those wondering, Tampa Bay is around +155 or so.
Now, Vegas has shown the ability to dominate stretches of this series but a lack of execution is problematic. The Golden Knights average 3.75 goals this postseason when Chandler Stephenson centers the top line. That average dips to just over two goals a game when he does not.
There is one idea that Peter DeBoer has not tried.
Stephenson provided a spatial dynamic that Montreal could not combat in Game 1. It seems like we forgot about that. The Vegas center will likely be out for the rest of the series (head). William Karlsson’s speed and versatility would create matchup problems for Montreal. At this point, it might draw some penalties too.
Montreal stayed in this series because of their playing style. It helps to have Carey Price in the net and a team who believes. Although hobbled themselves, the Canadiens have offensive threats like Tyler Toffoli, Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki, and Brendan Gallagher. That is to name a few. Vegas must lift the tempo and play that speedy physical style like in Game 1.
Take the Vegas Golden Knights to cover the moneyline.
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Chris Wassel is a skilled scribe who possesses a fervor for both sports and entertainment. Boasting a journalism background and over two decades of experience, he has crafted pieces that encompass a diverse array of sports including hockey, basketball, football, and others. His writing is characterized by its lucidity and sharpness, and provides a unique viewpoint on entertainment and political matters. While Chris primarily focuses on sports writing, he also writes about a wide range of subjects.