Capitals vs Golden Knights – NHL Game 5 Pick for June 7th
I can’t be the only one who is surprised by the results of the series so far. I don’t think the majority of fans, pundits and experts had Washington up 3-1 after four games. In fact, most NHL pundits had Vegas winning in 5 or 6 games. Needless to say, Vegas is in a deep hole and only one time out of the last 33 occurrences has a team ever come back from being down 3-1 in a Stanley Cup Finals. And, that was back in 1942.
Vegas has never lost 4 games in a row. That’s funny to say, considering they’ve only been around for 1 season. But, the truth is, they’ve been a solid team all year long and they have exceeded all expectations. Each time they’ve been counted out, the Golden Knights have proved the naysayers wrong. But, do they have one more miracle left in them?
Make no mistake about it, for Vegas to come back in this series, it’s going to take a miracle. The Golden Knights came out in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Finals and put up 6 goals to win 6-4. Since then, they’ve only scored 5 total goals in 3 games. So, for Vegas to win Game 5, they’re going to need to find some offense and do so in 5-on-5 play. In all honesty, Vegas should be embarrassed with how they’ve played offensively.
They do return home where they’ve scored 8 goals in the Finals, but all signs are pointing to Washington ending this series tonight unless Vegas can score 3 or more goals and Fleury can stop the Capitals offense.
Heading into the Finals, Marc-Andre Fleury was 12-3 with a .947 save percentage and 4 shutouts. In the Finals, he’s gone 1-3 with a .845 save percentage and has allowed 16 goals. I wish I could say it was all Fleury’s fault, but the defense has failed him, there’s been little offensive support, and the puck has not bounced his way. In fact, the puck has not bounced Vegas’ way at all, over the last 3 games. Does anyone have a count for how many times the Golden Knights have hit the goal posts?
Vegas has also been horrible on the power play. It’s historically bad. In the Finals, Vegas has gone 2-of-14 on power plays. For the playoffs, they’re only converting on 17.5 percent of their power play chances.
Lastly, Vegas needs to crack the Holtby code. In the last 3 games, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby has owned the Golden Knights as he’s gone 3-0, allowed only 5 total goals on 91 total shots, and has a .945 save percentage.
For the Capitals, they’re top two scorers in Ovechkin and Kuznetsov continue to prove to be too much for Vegas. Ovechkin has 26 total points and Kuznetsov has 31 total points in the playoffs. In the Finals, Kuznetsov has 7 points and Ovechkin has 4 points, which includes 2 goals. In comparison, Vegas’ top scorer William Karlsson, has just 2 points and only 5 shots on goal.
Despite how bad the numbers look, I’m going to roll with the Vegas Golden Knights at home in Game 5. I believe the fairytale will last at least one more game as they draw on their fans for the extra energy needed to win this highly anticipated contest.
Vegas is 7-2 SU at home in the playoffs, 13-6 SU in their last 19 games, 16-2 SU in their last 18 home games against winning teams, 6-1 SU in their last 7 games after allowing 5 goals in the previous contest, 20-7 SU in their last 27 games after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game, 5-2 SU in their last 7 games on Thursdays, and 3-0 SU after losing 3 consecutive games. For the Capitals, they are 1-5 SU in their last 6 Thursday games and 3-8 SU in their last 11 games after scoring 5 or more goals in their previous game.
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