NHL weekend betting preview: Knights claw back, Bolts pull away

Ethan Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The second round is in full swing as we head into the weekend. The Golden Knights are heading back to Vegas in desperation mode, and the Jets are without their captain as they look to battle back in the series. Meanwhile, the Lightning and Bruins are both attempting to move within a game of the Stanley Cup semi-finals.

Here's how we're betting this weekend's games.

Avalanche (-120) @ Golden Knights (+100)
June 4, 10 p.m. ET

T-Mobile Arena will be at full capacity for the first time since March 3, 2020, on Friday night, with 17,367 fans expected to fill the venue - the biggest crowd in an NHL arena since the start of the pandemic. That building is one of the loudest in the league when it's packed for a playoff game, and it's already earned a reputation as one of the most intimidating arenas to play in.

Vegas is going to need to feed off that energy as the team looks to claw its way back from a 2-0 series deficit, and there's plenty to build off after a really impressive showing in Game 2's losing effort. The Knights controlled 71.37% of the expected goal share and out-shot the Avalanche 35-13 at five-on-five, but the club was ultimately undone on special teams as a pair of power-play goals - including the overtime winner, which followed a bit of a soft penalty call - helped Colorado secure a 3-2 win.

Still, there were plenty of positives to draw upon from that game for Vegas. The squad was heavy on the forecheck and strong on the cycle, which helped disrupt the Avalanche's rhythm and keep them hemmed back. If the Knights can stay out of the box - Colorado's power play is close to untouchable at the moment - they will be well-positioned to grab their first win of the series in a packed T-Mobile arena and are good value to do so at even money.

Pick: Knights (+100)

Hurricanes (+120) @ Lightning (-140)
June 5, 4 p.m.

We bet the Hurricanes to claw back into the series in Game 3 and benefited from more of Jordan Staal's overtime magic, but the odds continue to be stacked against them in this series. Warren Foegele was the latest Carolina forward to suffer an injury on Thursday night, putting his status for this game in doubt with the club already missing Nino Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck - although the latter isn't officially ruled out for Game 4. The Hurricanes have a deep roster, but that depth is really being tested right now against a Lightning side that's loaded up and down the lineup.

After being outplayed through the first two games and Andrei Vasilevskiy having to stand on his head to steal the pair of wins, Tampa actually put forth its best performance of the series in Game 3 - ironically in a losing effort. The Lightning controlled 58.51% of the expected goal share at five-on-five, both out-shooting and out-chancing the Canes. Petr Mrazek slammed the door shut, stopping all 30 shots at five-on-five and saving an absurd 2.32 goals above expected.

Tampa ended up doing its work on the power play, converting two of three opportunities and nearly making it three of three with some glorious chances to win the game late on. We can expect another strong showing from the Lightning here, especially at five-on-five, with Jon Cooper controlling the matchups on home ice and exploiting a suddenly thinning Carolina forward group.

Pick: Lightning (-140)

Alex Moretto is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

NHL weekend betting preview: Knights claw back, Bolts pull away
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