The house always wins in Vegas, but the Washington Capitals are trying to buck that trend. Since joining the NHL in 1974 as an expansion team, the Caps have been in one more Stanley Cup Final than the Vegas Golden Knights, and they’re trying to put a stop to the magnificent run of the first-year club. And wouldn’t it be fitting for the best road team in the playoffs to win on the road and hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup for the very first time?
The Caps dropped the opener of the series before recording their ninth road win of the postseason in Game 2, stealing home ice advantage. The Caps were below .500 at home, however they turned things around and blasted the Golden Knights on Monday to get within a win of their first title. The bounces and breaks that were going the way of Vegas through the first three rounds of the playoffs suddenly aren’t. They outplayed Washington for much of Game 4 and with some help from the goalpost were denied.
Washington Capitals at Vegas Golden Knights – Game 5
Date and Time: Thursday, June 7, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Opening NHL Game Odds: (Click Here)
Capitals at Golden Knights TV Coverage: NBC
Despite winning three straight games to take a commanding lead in the series, the Caps can’t be overconfident going into Thursday’s matchup. Their 6-2 win on Monday wasn’t as convincing as the score and the Golden Knights dominated stretches while having a wide margin in scoring chances. But the Caps took advantage of their opportunities and when Vegas’ shots weren’t clanking off the post, Braden Holtby was there to make a stop. And the Caps have figured out Marc-Andre Fleury by scoring 16 goals in the four games. After leaving Game 2 in the first period with an injury, Evgeny Kuznetsov has six points in the last two games, including four assists in the Game 4 victory, and he leads all playoff scorers with 31 points in 23 games.
The Golden Knights have lost as many games in this series as they did in the first three rounds, and one more will bring an end to their season. They can’t win three games in one night so as the old cliché goes, they have to take it one game at a time. It’s been a demoralizing few games for the Knights, who once again saw the breaks go against them. Alex Tuch had a wide open cage in front of him in Game 2 and his bid for a tying goal was stopped. In Game 4 James Neal was staring at twine and banged his shot off the post. Besides that, they haven’t gotten much production from their top line with Reilly Smith, William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault combining for one goal and three assists in the last three games. With the offensive production down and the goals against up, it’s been a tough stretch for Vegas.
Things got a little chippy in Game 4 and both teams had a number of opportunities on the power play. But it was the Caps who took advantage, scoring three times with the man advantage while killing off all four Vegas power plays. The Knights tried to get physical to change the tempo of the game and the strategy backfired. They better stay out of the box on Thursday or the Caps could put an end to their season. Washington has scored a power play goal in 15 postseason games and they’re clicking at nearly 30 percent. The Caps top power-play unit has been particularly deadly with T.J. Oshie ( 6 ), Alex Ovechkin ( 5 ) and John Carlson ( 4 ) combining for 15 of the 21 tallies.
Who You Should Bet
The Golden Knights have defied the odds all season and they’ll have to do it again if they want to be champions. Only once has a team overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the Stanley Cup, but the good news is that they are playing this game on home ice, where they’ve been really good. Vegas is 7-2 in the phone booth this postseason and they’ll be backed by their rabid fans. But the Knights will need to find some offense and get better play defensively. The Caps are beating the Knights are their own game, rolling four lines and getting production from top to bottom. Vegas isn’t going to change its style, it just needs to be better. And I think they will be on Thursday to extend the series.
Capitals vs Golden Knights ATS Pick: Golden Knights
Capitals vs Golden Knights Score Prediction: Golden Knights 4, Capitals 2
Check out the latest NHL Stanley Cup Finals betting odds.