May 12, 2018; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Ryan Reaves (75) and Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) are separated by officials in the first period in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell MTS Place. James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Vegas is going to be bumping tonight, but you already knew that.
Neither the Jets nor Golden Knights should feel hard done by the 1-1 series scoreboard. Winnipeg looked dominant in Game 1, and Vegas did what it does in Game 2 and even took the play to the Jets for parts of the game thanks to its relentless forecheck.
Will Vegas be able to keep that up, or will the Jets do what they did against the Predators and make the right adjustments?
After spending most of Tuesday night at -145/+125, the price on Winnipeg has shortened to +115 this morning.
Keeping the Faith
I remain very confident that Winnipeg should win this series. If you sat out the beginning of the series, grabbing Winnipeg at -110 right now is a pretty good wager. Which is to say, I expect the Jets to be the better team for the majority of these games. A couple of bad turnovers and mental breakdowns did Winnipeg in Monday night, but in what has essentially become a best-of-5 series, I think the Jets will have much more of the puck and generate a lot more scoring chances than Vegas will. That is usually a recipe to win.
That being said, things have been pretty tight in terms of scoring chances, shot attempts and expected goals to this point, which definitely caught me off guard a bit. However, I don’t think Winnipeg will play worse than it did in Game 2. This is a team that is stoic and well-organized, yet the Jets were chasing the game and kind of abandoned ship after falling behind early in Game 2.
I trust the Jets to make the adjustments and right the ship more than I trust Vegas to be able to pressure them into panicking on a consistent basis.
I like the Jets at +125 or above for Game 3. — Michael Leboff
Jets Travel Well
In the last 47 days, Winnipeg has lost one game in regulation on the road. Over that span, the Jets have averaged 4.1 goals per game. In the Nashville series, they outscored the Preds 19-9 en route to a 3-1 record in Nashville, with the only loss coming in double OT.
Additionally, Winnipeg hasn’t lost two games in a row in more than two months — a span of 26 games. — Stuckey
During the regular season, Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers was third on the team in goals with 29 and was one of the focal points of the team at even strength and on the power play. He was rivaling everyone on the team not named Laine in the goals department, and his overall game made him one of the Jets’ best forwards.
So far in the playoffs, the person he is most closely rivaling for goals is the fan sitting in the nosebleeds. Ehlers has scored ZERO goals in 13 playoff games. He has moved up and down the lineup, including a recent stint on the fourth line.
In the first round, Ehlers missed Game 5 (the clincher) against Minnesota. Coach Paul Maurice evaded questions about the Danish forward’s health, which leads me to believe he’s battling something. He has also seen his shot totals drastically decrease in the playoffs, which adds to the injury possibility.
Regardless of whether Ehlers is injured or just in a scoring slump, he is going to have to turn things around quickly for Winnipeg to come out of this series with the win. — Sean Newsham
On The Marc
Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury missed the playoffs his first three seasons in the league with the Penguins, which includes the 2004-05 campaign wiped out by the lockout. Since then, Fleury has made the playoffs every season since 2007 and has profited bettors 8.2 units. — Evan Abrams
Winnipeg is coming off a 3-1 loss at home in Game 2. This season, including the playoffs, the Jets are 13-5 coming off a loss of two goals or more, winning by 1.2 goals per game and profiting bettors 7.3 units. The only team in the NHL more profitable than Winnipeg coming off at least a two-goal loss is the Penguins, who were 17-4 this season in that scenario. — Evan Abrams
After a playoff loss, road teams have gone 219-235 (48%) straight-up since 2006. Don’t let the losing record fool you; it has been very profitable to bet teams in this situation. A $100 bettor would be up $4,305 following this simple trend. However, favorites have been the best bet, going 65-29 SU, returning $2,202 for a $100 bettor (23.4% ROI). Unfortunately, the Jets opened as underdogs in Game 3. — John Ewing
What I’m Betting:
Leboff: Jets +125
Newsham: Under 5.5