STANLEY CUP HAS FINALLY ARRIVED – GAME 1 TONIGHT IN LAS VEGAS!
Well folks just 8 months ago, the NHL added an expansion team, and of all places it was to the city of Las Vegas. The team was built by mostly players from other teams left available after being allowed to block players they didn’t want Vegas to grab.
The Vegas GM had a really tough job to do, and he had to guess on a lot of guys who didn’t put up great stats, but who he felt given a chance could really become solid NHL Players. The Vegas Sportsbooks opened first odds on the team to win the Stanley Cup at (500-1). Then it settled in more around (200-1) odds. These bets were taken with not one iota that the team could possibly win the Cup. The thought was more of can this team of misfits even win 20 games?
Now fast forward to today, and possibly the greatest sports story of the past 30 years is going to continue on. I call it “Miracle on Ice 2”. The expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights team had it’s first win, (2-1) over Dallas. It won not 20 games, but 51 games in the Regular season, finishing atop it’s Division. It then won it’s first ever Playoff game over the LA Kings (1-0). It then won all 3 of it’s Western Conference Series matchups, to get to this day, and a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It will face off against the Washington Capitols, a team with a long history, mostly of “FAILING”. This year they’d be the big story but since the Knights are the expansion team, making it this far, the story has been all shaded positively to the Knights.
These two teams met twice in the regular season with the Knights winning both games, (3-0) and (4-3). Las Vegas finished with a (35-11-2) record at Home during it’s first ever Regular season. The Capitols won’t have Home Ice advantage, but they come into this game tonight with a (8-2) record on the Road in these 2018 Playoffs.
The Capitols were down 3-2 in their last Series with Tampa Bay. They had to win twice to advance to this spot and they did it with two near perfection performances, winning by (4-0) and (3-0) scores. Surprisingly that was Caps Goalie Braden Holtby’s first 2 shutouts of the season.
The nostalgic part of this matchup is Vegas GM McPhee drafted 13 Caps players suiting up tonight. He spent 17 years as the Caps GM. Add to that, stud Defensemen for Vegas Nate Schmidt, played 4 seasons with the Capitols.
Only 3 players suiting up for these Cup Finals have ever played in the Stanley Cup Finals. Two Vegas guys, Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal, and Caps Brooks Orpik. Fleury won 3 Cups with the Penguins, and Orpik one with them as well. Neal played but lost last year in the Finals as a member of the Nashville Preds. Fleury won last year with the Penguins for his 3rd time raising the Cup.
The Caps had seemingly year after year, finished as a top seed, only to never advance past the second round. Even with one of the 2 or 3 best Players in the league, Alex Ovechkin, they simply couldn’t get over the hump. This year though Ovechkin got them over it, leading way with (12) goals and (22) points in these 2018 Playoffs.
Las Vegas comes in winning 6 of it’s last 7 Playoff games and the home crowd, and home city, will be as crazy as we’ve ever seen it before. The town is flooded with Golden Knights gear and people who rarely watched sports, or even more so, hockey, are now gigantic fans.
LAS VEGAS SERIES ODDS: LV GOLDEN KNIGHTS (-$150) * WASH CAPS (+$135)
LAS VEGAS GAME 1 ODDS: LV GOLDEN KNIGHTS (-$165) * TOTAL GOALS (5 1/2)
TOP TREND: 4 OF THE LAST 5 GAMES PLAYED IN VEGAS WENT “OVER” THE TOTAL.
GARY’S FINAL SHOTS:
Ok at this point, I am going to be biased to my new (second) favorite/hometown adopted team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. This team has been nothing short of spectacular all season, and they’ve turned it up a notch in the Playoffs season. The only earned 4 points more during the regular season then the Caps did, so both teams are very closely matched.
The key in the NHL though to usually hoisting the Stanley Cup is what team has the hotter Goalie? In this case, over the large body of work, that Goalie plays for the Knights and his name is Marc-Andre Fleury. He has 4 shutouts so far in this Postseason, and has a (.947) save percentage. He’s allowing only (1.68) goals per game against, keeping his game in every game thus far.
Vegas might be an Expansion team, but on this day, they enter in with one of the best overall teams we’ve seen in decades. They play 4 lines on Offense, and rely on the lowest ranked member of the team in all situations. They are a tight knit group, that started out with no real superstar player. Now though, they have a handful of superstars, and another handful of pretty close to superstar caliber.
Since the Knights own the Home Ice Advantage for these Finals, I’ll predict the Knights win the Stanley Cup in 7 games. It will be the perfect storybook ending to an already storybook story. Oh and the Parade down Las Vegas Blvd (The Strip) will be likely the best Parade ever.
Go GOLDEN KNIGHTS!
Have a great Memorial Day Holiday and enjoy all the games and may all your wagers be winning ones.
LAS VEGAS SPORTS HANDICAPPER GARY GREENE
*Gary Greene is a longtime Professional Sports Bettor and Winning Sports Handicapper for over (30) years in Las Vegas, the Mecca of Sports Gambling. He is also a longtime Radio Host/Analyst, as well as TV Sports Personality, and a well known Publisher of one of the most read Football “Betting” Magazines for over 25 years, appearing in over a dozen Las Vegas Sportsbooks doing his National Radio Broadcasts. All Radio/TV shows and Sports articles from a “Vegas Odds Betting Perspective”. If you are interested in contacting Gary he can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org You can also ask about his “Gameday Sports Betting Picks” packages available at this time. Gary is now up on a torrid run of (+57) Units in the NBA/NHL Playoffs so far and also the first month of MLB picks, SWEEPING the board on Sunday in all sports. We are now on a solid overall run of (13-5) with our “Gameday Free Picks”. We did lose our pick made two weeks ago on the Boston Celtics – Series Bet to give us loss #5. We will be back soon with another Free Pick here, either in Hockey or NBA Playoffs or maybe MLB.. Hopefully we can keep your bankroll growing.
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