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Pete Truszkowski previews the Stars vs Knights game on Sunday and provides his betting picks

Dallas Stars vs Golden Knights Predictions

The Dallas Stars come into the Western Conference finals off an impressive performance against the favorited Colorado Avalanche. On the other side, the Vegas Golden Knights were dominant against the Vancouver Canucks for most of their series, even if the scoreboard doesn’t portray that image.

These two teams now face-off against each other in the Western Conference finals.

This is a tremendous step up in competition for the Vegas Golden Knights. The Vancouver Canucks were a great story, but they didn’t quite compare to the elite teams of the NHL. They were a team that hung around in games, but relied too much on goaltending and special teams to get to the next level.

On the other hand, the Dallas Stars are a better team than the Vancouver Canucks. Dallas is much more of a defensive team, allowing the second least goals per 60 minutes during the regular season.

Vegas is one of the top teams in the league and the analytics love them. Vegas was top-two during the regular season in terms of shot attempts, scoring chances, high danger chances and expected goals. That form has continued into the playoffs.

Vegas is led by their top line which consists of William Karlsson, Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone. Though the line has been split up at times over the past few games, coach Pete Deboer knows he has this unit to fall back on if he needs to change the momentum of the contest.

Shea Theodore has been a revelation for the Golden Knights in these playoffs. He scored the game-winning goal late in game seven against Vancouver. He’s one of the top offensive defensemen in the league and look for Theodore to continue to make an impact as we move forward in this series.

In goal, Robin Lehner had a fantastic series against the Vancouver Canucks. Vegas won four games in the series and Lehner had three shutouts in those four games. Lehner continues to be one of the best stories in hockey after defeating drug and alcohol abuse. Not only is he a great story, but he’s been one of the better goalies in hockey the past two seasons.

On the other side of the ice, Dallas has been solid but they haven’t played to their teams identity. If you would have told me that Dallas eliminated Colorado, I would have anticipated many lower scoring games where Dallas goaltending was the difference. Instead, you had a series where six of the seven games went over the total.

Dallas’ goaltending was considered to be the strong point of their hockey club. Ben Bishop has missed most of these playoffs, but he’s recently been cleared to return. He played game five of the series against the Avalanche and was pulled after allowing 5 goals in the first period. This leads you to believe that Anton Khudobin will get the opportunity in the crease for Dallas to start this series.

Khudobin had a great regular season but his playoffs haven’t been as sharp. Despite his struggles, his team continues to win games. He does just enough to make the big saves at the right time for his Stars club.

Dallas is led by their duo of elite defensemen. Miro Heiskanen has turned himself into a household name and should be on the short list of favorites to win the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP. In addition to Heiskanen, John Klingberg has added a tremendous amount from the backend for Dallas.

Dallas is getting production from up and down their line-up, including names like Radek Faksa and Roope Hintz. I’m sure Dallas would like to see more from Tyler Seguin, but the depth guys are keeping Dallas alive while Seguin attempts to find his game.

With all of this being said, I do think Dallas is being a tad disrespected here. We saw what happened in the Colorado/Dallas series where Game One was a similar disrespectful line. If I had to pick a side, Dallas at +150 has value. However, it’s not my favorite bet in this game.

I look towards the under here. During the regular season, both these teams struggled with their shooting percentage. Both are above average possession teams. However, despite this, I expect Anton Khudobin and Robin Lehner to play up to their capabilities. Neither team has a tremendous amount of firepower on offense.

Bet on this game to stay low scoring while these teams feel each other out in Game One.

PICK: Under 6 (-118)


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