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NHL expert Pete Truszkowski gives us two picks for Thursday's Western Conference Finals game

Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights

If you’re a fan of betting unders, the first two games of the Western Conference Final series have been right up your alley. Based on the style the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights play, I’d be shocked if the games didn’t continue to be low-scoring.

The first two games of this series have both seen a team get shutout. Anton Khudobin blanked Vegas in Game One while Robin Lehner returned the favor against Dallas in Game Two. Not only is goal scoring down, but the quality of chances is down too.

Through these playoffs so far, Vegas is averaging 13.8 high danger chances per 60 minutes at 5v5. Dallas is averaging 10.7 high danger attempts themselves. Through two games of this series, Vegas is averaging 8 high danger chances while Dallas is only averaging 6.5. The commitment both of these teams have to the defensive side of their game is reflected in the amount of high danger chances they are allowing.

The same can be said in regards to expected goals. Through the playoffs thus far, Vegas is averaging an expected 2.92 goals per 60, while Dallas comes in at 2.17.  Through two games of this series, Vegas is at 1.99 expected goals per hour while Dallas comes in at 1.79 expected goals for.

Dallas has had the reputation of a team that plays low scoring games. During the regular season, only one team scored less 5v5 goals than Dallas did. On the flip side, only Boston allowed less goals per game than the Stars.

Vegas is a team that dominates other teams with puck possession and shot quality, but scoring isn’t easy for them. They were a bottom-ten team in the league during the regular season in terms of shooting percentage. In these playoffs, they are the lowest of the four remaining teams in that category.

Anton Khudobin was pulled in Game Two, but it wasn’t due to any fault of his own. He stopped 24 shots through two periods and gave his team a chance to wake up, which they never did. He posted a .930 save percentage during the regular season for Dallas and his save percentage continues to rise towards that number as these playoffs progress.

In the other crease, Robin Lehner has been quite a story. The fan-favorite inspiration has posted shutouts in back-to-back games spanning the Golden Knight’s last two series. He has posted shutouts in four of his last seven starts overall in these playoffs. He has been one of the better goalies in the league these past two seasons and it’s shown with his play in this postseason.

Tyler Seguin is supposed to be the star of the Dallas Stars, but his play in this postseason has been extremely disappointing. He has not recorded a goal nor an assist in his team’s last six contests.

In fact, the only goal Dallas has scored in this series has come from a defenseman. Their forwards have not been able to crack the code that is the Vegas defense and goaltending.

On the other side, Vegas’ top goal scorer during the regular season was Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty hasn’t scored in his past five contests as Vegas’ offense has dried up compared to the start of the playoffs. Pacioretty needs to start putting the puck in the net for the Golden Knights.

Vegas scored three times in Game Two, which is an impressive accomplishment for them when you consider they only scored three goals combined in the three games prior to that. Two of those goals were into an empty net.

With both teams solidifying their games defensively, both goalies getting into a groove, and the star players struggling as of late, it’s not hard to see why we’ve had low scoring games in this series. I don’t expect anything to change in Game Three.

The Pick: Under 5.5 Goals @ -130


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