NHL Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Golden Knights vs. Canucks Game 7 Preview (Friday, Sept. 4)
Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Thatcher Demko and Quinn Hughes.
- Despite all odds, the Vancouver Canucks have clawed their way back against the Vegas Golden Knights. The two teams will face off in a do-or-die Game 7 on Friday at 8:00 p.m. ET.
- The Canucks have won outright as a +200 underdog in each of the previous two games. Can they do it a third time on Friday?
- Michael Leboff previews Game 7 below.
Golden Knights vs. Canucks Game 7 Odds
|Canucks Odds||+195 [BET NOW]|
|Golden Knights Odds||-230 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||6 [BET NOW]|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
Hockey is hilarious.
A few days ago, the Vancouver Canucks were down 3-1 in their best-of-7 series with the heavily-favored Vegas Golden Knights. Then right before Game 5, the Canucks announced that their star goaltender, Jacob Markstrom, was unfit to play and Thatcher Demko would be starting.
The Canucks were left for dead, and it was hard to blame anybody for thinking that way. Not only has Demko struggled to a -3.25 Goals Saved Above Expectation (GSAx) in his 36-game NHL career, but the Knights were dominating the Canucks at 5-on-5. Demko was going to need to stand on his head for Vancouver to have any hope of forcing a Game 6, let alone a Game 7.
Ninety saves on 91 shots later, and here we are.
Demko has been speechlessly good in his two starts for the Canucks, stealing both games as a +200 underdog and earning the Canucks an opportunity to play in a do-or-die Game 7 against one of the Stanley Cup favorites.
Check out our free NHL odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
Demko Can’t Do It Again, Can He?
Admittedly, I thought cashing one +200 bet on the Canucks where they were bombarded and needed a blood-and-thunder show from their back-up goalie to win was good enough.
I still bet Vancouver again in Game 6, because the number was too good to pass up, but I had no expectation that the Canucks would win. In all likelihood, they needed Demko to pull another rabbit out of his helmet — and I wasn’t counting on that to happen. That would just be greedy.
Not only did Demko come through, but he was somehow better in Game 6 than he was in Game 5. According to MoneyPuck’s expected goals model, the Knights recorded 4.51 xG in all situations in Game 6.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
Will Vegas’ Luck Turn?
It may sound weird to say since the Golden Knights have lost two games in a row as huge favorites and have scored just one goal in the process, but it’s hard to find many faults with how Vegas is playing in this series.
The Knights have played the Canucks out of the arena, except for that whole scoring more goals thing:
|5-on-5 Stat||Vegas Golden Knights||Vancouver Canucks|
|High-danger scoring chances||64||45|
You should expect to win most games when you play as well as Vegas has in this series, but the NHL is a cruel sport. A hot goalie can ruin everything.
Speaking of which…
The Golden Knights have a brutal choice to make in goal for Game 7. Robin Lehner is a better goalie than Marc-Andre Fleury, but it’s the second night of a back-to-back. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pete deBoer elects to start Fleury, whose agent tweeted a picture of his client being stabbed in the back by a sword with DeBoer’s name on it a couple of days ago.
I’d slightly downgrade Vegas if Fleury starts, but who the hell knows with these bloody goaltenders anyways.
Game 7 Betting Analysis
Part of me wanted the Canucks to get eliminated in Game 5 so I could stop betting them. It isn’t fun to watch your team get absolutely shelled all game. The winning part is fun, sure, but you’d be lying to yourself if you’ve bet the Canucks the past two games and didn’t at some point think, “Can Vegas just get this over with already? The anguish is too much.”
That’s my way of saying that I’ll be going back to Vancouver for Game 7. The listed odds imply that the Vegas has a 67.3% chance of winning on Friday night. You can’t expect Vancouver to win, but I think the number on Vegas is too high — especially with the possibility that the volatile Fleury ends up in goal.
The Canucks have enough talent on their team to make you pay for offering them any additional opportunities. And for all of Vegas’ possession dominance, the Golden Knights are prone to defensive lapses. There’s a path to victory here for Vancouver, even if it isn’t a likely one.
I like Vancouver at +185 or better to win Game 7.