As the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs marches on, fans all over the globe are ready for the second round to produce the Stanley Cup semifinalists. As we inch closer to the Stanley Cup Finals, teams are maximizing their efforts just to try and advance to the next round. In this article, we have our NHL futures pick for this Monday, June 14th. Will the Vegas Golden Knights hold serve and defeat the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1?
|Vegas Golden Knights||-275||-262||-275||-270||-270|
On Thursday, the Vegas Golden Knights eliminated the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 6-3. Yes, this Golden Knights team overcame a 2-0 series deficit as they rolled to four straight wins.
Again, the Golden Knights have the better players along with the Stanley Cup caliber goalie in Marc-Andre Fleury. Also, the Golden Knights have Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, and Alex Pietrangelo for starters. Also, the Vegas second line along with Alex Tuch saved the Vegas season in Round 2. One of the big surprises was Jonathan Marchessault who now has five goals in the series including a hat trick in Game 4. It is amazing how balanced the Vegas Golden Knights’ scoring has become.
William Karlsson leads all Vegas scorers with four goals and 11 points. Marchessault is not too far behind with eight. That includes six goals overall. Max Pacioretty, who returned for Game 7 versus the Minnesota Wild, has four goals and four assists in seven contests. He has tallied at least a point in every playoff game so far. A total of 11 Golden Knights have six or more points this postseason.
It is easy to see why the Vegas Golden Knights are such lopsided favorites for Game 1.
Ahead of this pivotal Game 6 showdown, the NHL odds are out and they’re in favor of Vegas. The Golden Knights have been listed between -250 and -280, while the Colorado Avalanche is hovering around +215 to +250. Even most Montreal fans know this will be an uphill battle at best. Minnesota took advantage of a Vegas team a couple of games where Vegas took them too lightly. The Golden Knights expect not to fall into the trap, especially to start out the best-of-seven series.
For NHL Picks, our best bet on Monday night features taking Vegas on the moneyline.
Vegas should easily take down Montreal in Game 1 on Monday night. The Golden Knights draw the “golden ticket” with the Montreal Canadiens. Vegas got a nice rest and should be in a bit better form considering Montreal clinched their series last Monday. Rust will not be a factor for the Golden Knights.
That’s because when the inevitable reseeding comes, Vegas getting Montreal is about the biggest gift they could ask for while Tampa Bay will see either the Boston Bruins or New York Islanders. The Stanley Cup Semifinal round changes all the dynamics. Vegas will not have the luxury of a ton of rest time but they will be considered the much stronger team. Playing without resting a ton may be more of a blessing for Game 1 and that way, Vegas is not rusty.
The Las Vegas sportsbooks had projected -270 odds for a Game 1, while Montreal is now a huge underdog at +235. Earlier this postseason, Vegas was one of our better value picks to compete for the NHL Stanley Cup title. Now, Vegas slotted right near the top and their odds are shortening more and more by the day.
Earlier this postseason, the Golden Knights were +250 after eliminating Colorado last Thursday. Now, Vegas’ Stanley Cup odds keep on climbing, as they now hold +125 odds to be crowned the Stanley Cup champions. Vegas and their ability to control Colorado and win four straight games helped their odds immensely. Max Pacioretty leads the Golden Knights and is on a seven-game point streak to boot.
Now, Montreal will not be an easy team to eliminate but Vegas does have a better man-advantage unit and overall special teams. That being said, the Canadiens’ balanced attack combined with Cole Caufield, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Nick Suzuki will cause Vegas some fits. Montreal will need Phillip Danault to be able to slow down Vegas’ top line.
Montreal’s surprise scoring could prove useful in lengthening the series. Most fail to realize that the Canadiens have a better power-play in the playoffs than Vegas (18.75% compared to 14.29%). A big surprise has been the Habs’ penalty kill. They ranked 24th in the regular season but top the playoffs at 90.32%. Montreal must use its transition game and wait out Vegas. Tyler Toffoli is one of those goal scorers who can change a series.
Montreal may only average 2.55 goals per game in the playoffs but they do have four players with four goals. That includes Kotkaniemi, Suzuki and Joel Armia. The defense and special teams are their strong suit but the real anchor is Carey Price. Price leads all goalies with a .935 save percentage in the playoffs and a goals-against average under two.
Take the Vegas Golden Knights to cover the moneyline. If one feels risky, the puckline is laying out there at +105. That means Vegas has to win by at least two goals (-1.5).
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