Jets vs Golden Knights – NHL Game 4 Pick for May 18th
Game 4 is a must win game for the Winnipeg Jets as they can’t afford to go down 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals. Teams that go down 3-1 in the finals are 1-65. Yes, you read that correctly. Only 1 time in the history of the NHL has a team come back from being down 3 games to 1 in the conference finals. For Vegas, they’re sitting in a great position. Over the last 45 years, teams that have gone up 2-1 in the conference finals have won 35 of 43 series, which is 87.5% of the time.
Now, we know Winnipeg is desperate and Vegas knows that their opponent is desperate, but that doesn’t mean the Jets will win tonight. The biggest reason why – Marc-Andre Fleury.
If you recall, at the beginning of the series I really hyped up Fleury and that he was the biggest reason why I thought Vegas would win Game 1 and the series. Well, Fleury laid an egg in that game and the Golden Knights ended up losing 4 to 2. Since then, Vegas won Games 2 and 3 by a total score of 7 to 3. Fleury has been the catalyst behind those victories as he’s allowed just 3 goals on 66 attempts. Every time Winnipeg tried to make a push in the game, Fleury shut it down.
For Winnipeg to win tonight, they will need to crack the Fleury code. And, I just don’t see how they’re going to do that. Even with his poor Game 1 performance in this series, Fleury has a .945 save percentage and a 1.70 gaa in the post season. Vegas is 7-1 SU at home over their last 8 games and 5-1 SU at home in the playoffs.
Winnipeg’s top goal scorer Mark Sheifele is doing his part as he now has 14 goals in the playoffs. His teammate Blake Wheeler has also bumped his postseason leading assist total to 17. Unfortunately, the rest of the team isn’t doing enough. There are plenty of players to point the finger at in regards to not pulling their weight in this series like Patrick Laine who only has 4 goals in the playoffs after scoring 44 during the regular season. But, he’s not alone in falling short as Little, Lowery and Perreault have also stunk up the postseason.
Let’s also not forget how goalie Connor Hellebuyck has given up 7 goals in the last two games including one in the first minute of Game 3. And, this is an important stat for these two teams. When Vegas scores first, they’ve gone 8-1. When Winnipeg scores first, they’re also 8-1.
I believe that Vegas will win the series, but I’m not sure if they will win tonight. It took a brilliant performance by Fleury for the Golden Knights to win the game. He stopped 15 of 16 shots in the 3rd period and prevented the Jets from tying up the game. The Jets need some of those pucks to find their way past Fleury in order to win Game 4 and even up the series.
Tonight’s game will either be a near-shut out performance by Fleury or a high scoring game. I don’t see any other outcome. Either Winnipeg scores 3 or 4 goals to crack the Fleury code or they score 1 and lose the game.
The Over has hit in 2 of the 3 games this series. In their last 6 head-to-head games, these two teams have combined to score 6.5 goals per game. For the Jets, the Over is 4-1 in their last 5 road games and 3-0-1 in their last 4 games when scoring 2 goals or less in the previous game. For Vegas, the Over is 4-0 in their last 4 home games and 14-2 in their last 16 games on Fridays.
For the playoffs, Winnipeg has averaged 3.3 goals per game and Vegas has averaged 2.9 goals per game. I believe we’ll see more scoring from Winnipeg tonight and it will help to drive the game total over 5.5 goals.
Bet: Over 5.5 goals (-114)
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