NHL Side Plays 6/4/2018

Date | AuthorAllen Moody

Last Updated: 2018-06-04

The Washington Capitals will look to take a huge step towards claiming the Stanley Cup tonight when they host the Vegas Knights in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Washington is -130 in the game, where Vegas is getting a slight majority of the wagers.

The Capitals have played solid defense the last two games, which has been the key to Washington winning the last two games, as offensively, they’ve managed three goals in each game and during the season the Caps were 16-8 when scoring three goals, while the Knights were 14-8 when allowing three goals.

The Capitals have scored three or more goals in their last five games, which explains why they’ve gone 4-1, as they’ve held the opposition to two or fewer goals in four of those games. The lone loss the Caps have had while scoring at least three goals was the first game of the series.

Washington has yet to get its powerplay going, scoring just once in seven tries, while the Knights have been a little better, going 2 for 8, but the Caps haven’t need special teams to score in the series. After allowing 10 goals to Winnipeg in five games, Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed 10 goals to the Capitals through the first three games of this series and the only way he takes home the Conn Smythe Trophy is to lead the Knights back to the series win. If the Capitals win the series, the Smythe is going to Overchkin regardless of what happens the next few games.

Holtby has been solid for the Caps and made some big saves when he’s needed to, while Fleury has also made a few nice saves in the series. His numbers are up, but the Caps are getting some decent opportunities even though they’re not getting quite as many as they’re used to getting. Think tonight’s game is a little more open, as Vegas has to try something different to get some pucks past Holtby and the Caps shouldn’t have any problem with a faster-paced contest.

As usual, I’ll have to go against the public in this one and take the Capitals. I think they know they can play better than they have, at least offensively, and still lead the series and will do everything they can to keep from going back to Las Vegas tied and giving up the home ice advantage they were able to steal with their Game 2 victory in the desert.

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Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals takes place in the nation’s capital tonight, as Washington is down to -130 over Las Vegas after opening at -137 and the Knights getting a small majority of the wagers in the game.

The first two games of the series have both been entertaining and the winning team has simply been the team to receive better goaltending. Las Vegas had a 34-28 shot advantage in the first game and a 39-26 edge in Game 2, although having five powerplays to two for the Capitals played a part of that.

For the season, the Knights were a better shooting team at home and were better with the man advantage, while playing better defense. Washington’s offense was pretty close either at home or on the road, but the Caps were better defensively in front of the home fans and Holtby had a .920 save percentage in home games compared to .911 overall. Marc-Andre Fleury actually had a better save percentage on the road than he did at home, but the team’s other goalies were worse, giving Vegas a lower save percentage as a team away.

One main reason Las Vegas is where its at is the team ability to bounce back after being quieted offensively, as the Knights were 25-7 in games after scoring two goals or fewer and 11-4 on the road. Las Vegas was 27-20 in games after allowing at least three goals and 12-12 on the road. Vegas has gone 23-11 after a loss.

For the Capitals, they’ve gone just 38-31 after scoring three or more goals and 19-15 at home, while the Caps went 20-17 after holding foes to two goals or less and 10-8 at home and have gone 35-26 after a victory.

Historically, the Capitals aren’t in the greatest of situations, as playoff teams who lost on the road and followed that up with a win against today’s opponent the next game are just 28-35, which includes a 3-7 record this season, although home favorites are 25-25 and 3-6 this season, with the Caps having one of those losses when they fell to Pittsburgh.

I’m a little surprised the Knights are getting so much respect in this one, as I expected the line to be -140 or so primarily due to the Ovechkin factor and I’d like to see him hoist the Cup as much as anybody, but this game is pretty much a toss-up and the Knights have a slight edge in the trends department, so will tab Las Vegas in this one, but definitely a small play.

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