Game: Vegas Golden Knights @ Florida Panthers
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Odds: Knights +108, Panthers -119
The Florida Panthers are used to being two games down in a playoff series and having to mount a comeback. Even though the stakes in the Stanley Cup Final have increased, that experience will act as a sort of life preserver for the Panthers as they get ready to host the Vegas Golden Knights for Game 3 tonight.
Vegas has a 2-0 advantage over the Panthers in the best-of-seven series and has won the first two games at home by a combined score of 12-4. Florida trailed the Boston Bruins 3-1 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs but rallied and won the series.
Teams that win the first two games of a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final are 48-5 (90.6%) overall. Teams that won the first two games at home are 38-3 (92.7%). In their previous appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, in 1996, the Panthers lost to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Panthers are now 4-3 at home this postseason. Two of the losses came in the series with Boston. The Panthers will concentrate on improving their defense and upholding their composure in order to change their fortunes. Over the first two games, Vegas has scored four power-play goals in 11 opportunities.
The Golden Knights have been an offensive powerhouse with a 6-2 road record in the playoffs. The NHL record of 12 goals scored in the first two games of a series was set by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1932, the Detroit Red Wings in 1936, the Montreal Canadiens in 1973, and the New York Islanders in 1981 and 1982. An NHL-record nine Vegas skaters have already scored goals in the series, and 12 players contributed at least one point to the team’s victory in Game 2. The Knights have 18 different players who have scored this postseason.
Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, an early contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy, was chased from Game 2 after giving up four goals. It was the fifth time in the last 12 games that Vegas caused a goaltender to be removed from a game. Bobrovsky was 11-2 in his previous 13 NHL playoff starts prior to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault has scored at least one goal in each of the past three games. He has tallied at least one point in each of his last seven games. Three Vegas defensemen have also scored goals in the first two games of the series.
Vegas is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games and 7-2 SU in its last nine on the road. Despite losing the first two games of this series, the Panthers are 11-3 SU in their last 14 games. Home ice has been good to the Panthers who are 4-1 SU in their last five at home. Florida is also 4-1 SU in the last five at home against Vegas.
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