NHL PREVIEW: VEGAS @ CAPITOLS * STANLEY CUP FINALS * (SAT. JUNE 1, 2018) * GAME 3

SERIES TIED 1-1 HEADING TO D.C. FOR 1ST EVER  CUP GAME IN NATIONS CAPITOL! 

The Caps faced a tough spot in Game 2 against a tough team to beat on their home ice, Vegas, but even after falling behind 1-0 they responded with a strong game thereafter and held on for dear life to head back home for their first ever Home Stanley Cup game.

Both teams are very evenly matched and so most of these games will come down to a lucky puck bounce and what Goalie ends up making the more spectacular saves to grab the Win.

In Game 1 that Goalie was Vegas Fleury, and in Game 2 it was the Caps Holtby. Before  these Finals the Knights seemed to avoid the back and forth “rough play” but against these Caps and especially Tom Wilson, Caps first O-Line tough guy/intimidator. There has been lots of mix ups and it looks to get worse ahead and not better in that department. That edge goes to the Caps as that is their style and all year it’s definitely not been the Knights style.

We came into these Finals expected the Goalies to stop everything and see lower scoring games, but so far 15 goals scored in two games and a super fast pace with the puck moving back and forth at warp speed. Vegas is the faster team, so that does give them the edge in that style of play.

The Caps may be without one of it’s top players, E. Kuznetsov, who severely injured his arm. He leads the Playoffs with 25 points in 21 games.

VEGAS ODDS: GAME 3: WASH CAPS (-$130) * (TOTAL: 5 1/2) vs. VEGAS KNIGHTS

GARY’S FINAL SHOTS:

This game should slow down from the pace of the first two games as neither wants to play that style for 60 minutes. Both teams have been bad on Defense and have allowed way too many easy shots on their Goalies. Only 3 players started the Cup Finals with past experience, so the jitters were expected early on. I fully expect now to see more defense and tight play in this Game 3 as both teams now have a few games under their belt.

For Vegas it’s a simple fix, stay out of the penalty box and don’t let the Caps feast on Fleury on power plays. Fleury with 5 on 5 is nearly impossible to score on, The Caps have taken advantage of their bad mistakes as they are a veteran bunch. Vegas though must just outwork them as they do have the speed edge. Vegas #1 O-Line must step up in Game 3 and use that speed for rushes on Holtby. He has allowed some sniper shots already when Vegas is on a rush at him.

I expect Game 3 to be tight all game and winner likely to win by 1 goal. The team who wins this game will really have a gigantic edge going forward, especially if it’s Vegas, as they will regain Home Ice, a situation only they have a winning record overall at Home so far in these 2018 Playoffs.

Enjoy the game and may all your wagers be Winning ones.

LAS VEGAS SPORTS HANDICAPPER GARY GREENE

@VEGASGARYGREENE