NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction for Wild vs. Golden Knights Game 5: Can Minnesota Avoid Elimination? (May 24)
Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Cam Talbot.
- The Minnesota Wild look to avoid elimination in Game 5 on Monday night against the Vegas Golden Knights.
- If the Wild are to do that, they'll have to finally solve Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been sensational through the first four games.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down where he sees betting value in the game and delivers his best bet.
Wild vs. Golden Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds
|Monday, 10:30 p.m. ET
|Odds as of Sunday and via PointsBet
The Minnesota Wild will head into T-Mobile Arena desperate to find a way to solve Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and keep their season alive. Fleury was simply spectacular again in Game 4, posting a 35-save shutout en route to a 4-0 victory and 3-1 series stranglehold for Vegas.
The Golden Knights two most important players, Fleury and captain Mark Stone, have been everything one can ask for and more so far in this series, The duo has been the main reason that Vegas has gutted out three consecutive wins.
Stone has been fantastic at both ends of the ice, playing with a ton of passion and posting three goals and four points in what has been a low-scoring series.
But he certainly falls as Vegas' second MVP for the time being. Fleury has had one of the best four-game spells that we have seen in recent years.
It has become quite a common occurrence to see a ton of comments regarding a goaltender's save percentage, without investigating the actual quality of the saves and whether goals allowed were actually good goals.
In this series, Fleury has faced a ton of high-quality chances, and his game reels show a ton of chances that realistically could have found the net.
Compare Fleury's run to what we have seen from Tuukka Rask in Games 4 and 5 of the Bruins' series vs the Capitals. Rask stopped 60 of 62 shots against, although most were easily controlled efforts that Boston was happy to offer compared to actual defensive breakdowns.
Or look at the Panthers' goaltending against the Lightning. Sergei Bobrovsky and Chris Driedger both sit with dreadful numbers, but neither has really allowed anywhere near as many bad goals as common opinion seems to believe.
My point: Vegas has likely allowed too many high-quality chances against so far in this series, and Fleury has very much earned his gaudy numbers so far.
If Vegas can finish off Minnesota tomorrow night they will book a date with the Colorado Avalanche for what should be a spectacular series.
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.
The Wild have done a lot of things well so far in this series, but some tough breaks and excellent goaltending have their surprisingly successful season one game away from the end.
Minnesota sits -6.3 goals below expected through four games and likely feel that it deserves better than a 3-1 hole.
But costly errors and untimely breakdowns have led to some worse-than-expected results. The Wild have given up more breakaways, and to my eye have had more complete collapses defensively, but I would still argue that it's unlikely for them to continue to generate such quality chances and not manage to put together better goals totals.
The Wild face a very tough challenge to comeback from 3-1 down against a strong Knights club, and it will be interesting to see what kind of effort they put together in Vegas on Monday night as they attempt a very improbable comeback.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Fleury has been truly spectacular in this series, particularly in Games 2 and 4 when Minnesota controlled much of the play, only to find itself unable to put much past the Vegas netminder. Fleury is already sitting with an absurd 6.3 goals saved above expected rating and alongside a stellar .966 save percentage.
The Knights have received some very favorable and timely breaks in Games 3 and 4 with regards to goal reviews, which certainly impacted the final results. In Game 3, a would-be 3-0 Minnesota goal was taken off the board after an offside review, with the zone entry in question coming a long period of time prior to the goal. Then in Game 4, what would have been a crucial game-tying goal came back after what was a borderline at best goaltender interference call upon review.
It would be pretty fair to say that it's a harsh result for the Wild to be down 3-1 in this series so far. Goaltending is obviously a huge part of the team, and Fleury outplaying Cam Talbot is a very repeatable result so I am not trying to make that my point here.
It's likely unsustainable for the Wild to continue to create so many deep slot chances with reasonable time and space not find some more success offensively even facing a spectacular goaltender.
Minnesota is a heavy underdog at +160 and when we consider the way the games have been played so far in this series, I see some value in backing them to manage a better result, given what have been very close games.
Pick: Wild +160