Stanley Cup Game 2 best bets: Offenses to shine in Vegas
Powered by a dominant third period, the Golden Knights took care of business in the opening game of the series.
Can they replicate that performance - and grab a 2-0 lead - or will the Panthers fight back and claw away home-ice advantage?
Let's take a closer look as we dive into three best bets for the second game of the series.
The Panthers did a great job of limiting the damage opposing offenses could inflict over the first three rounds of the playoffs. They deserve credit for that. But it's also worth noting they didn't face any teams that were creating anywhere close to the level of the Golden Knights.
The Bruins netted 2.31 goals per 60 at five-on-five in the opening series. That would've sandwiched them between the Flyers and Coyotes - two horrendous teams - during the regular season. Yet that's the highest output of any team the Panthers faced en route to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Maple Leafs averaged only 2.22 goals per 60 over 11 playoff games, while the Hurricanes scored just 2.26 spanning 15 games. All of those teams seemed happy to try to dull the game down and bank on their side converting at a better rate. It didn't happen.
Vegas, on the other hand, is simply overwhelming teams offensively. The Golden Knights have scored a whopping 3.46 goals per 60 at five-on-five, the best mark of any playoff team - and it's not close.
They're completely railroading each and every team that stands in their way, generating a good dose of chances in the zone and destroying teams in transition following turnovers forced by their great two-way game (led by Mark Stone).
They made Sergei Bobrovsky look human in the series opener, scoring four goals on 33 shots. That marked the first time since Game 7 of the first round that Bobrovsky has allowed more than three goals or posted a sub .900 save percentage.
I think the Golden Knights are going to score their fair share of goals in this series. They have all playoffs despite facing Jake Oettinger, Connor Hellebuyck, and an Oilers team that entered the playoffs in as good of form as anybody in the league.
If those goaltenders, or teams, couldn't slow the Golden Knights' offense down, I don't see Bobrovsky doing it - especially after such a long layoff that could've taken him out of the zone he was in.
That means the Panthers will need to score goals to keep up. I think that'll lead to them taking more chances and to higher event games, one way or the other.
Bet: Over 5.5 (-120)
Alex Pietrangelo over 2.5 shots (+110)
Pietrangelo had a strong shooting performance in the opening game of the series, attempting six shots while hitting the target three times.
His shooting success is nothing new on home ice, nor against the Panthers. Pietrangelo has hit in four of the last six playoff games in Vegas and attempted at least five shots in all of them.
That has been somewhat of a magic number for Pietrangelo this season. He's attempted five shots or more 44 times, clearing his prop line in 30 of those games. That's good for a 68% success rate.
I think Pietrangelo should be able to get to that mark again in this one. He's playing a lot of minutes at even strength, getting a lot of reps on the power play, and has hit in all three games against the Panthers this year.
We're getting a more than fair price in backing Pietrangelo to do it again.
Aleksander Barkov over 2.5 shots (-110)
Barkov let us down in Game 1 of the series, recording two shots on goal over the first two periods but failing to get the third while the Panthers piled up shots pushing to tie the game. It wasn't for a lack of opportunity, though, as Barkov was credited with five scoring chances in the game.
He generated the volume necessary to get the job done, and his shots came from good locations. He just didn't get the puck on target. That's generally not an issue for Barkov, who hit the net on 62% of his shot attempts during the regular season.
He's playing 21-plus minutes each and every night, so the opportunities should be there. If he can be a little more clinical with hitting the target, he should get back on track in Game 2.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
- Canucks GM: 'I think we can get help on the back end'
- 4 takeaways from Patrick Kane's decision to sign with the Red Wings
- Vilardi miffed with former teammate Lizotte after injury: 'It's a stupid play'
- Kane aiming to make Red Wings debut in next 7-10 days
- Perry becomes free agent after clearing unconditional waivers