The Washington Capitals will attempt to take a 2-1 series lead over the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, when they host them as small home favorites for Game 3 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
The Capitals edged the Golden Knights 3-2 in Game 2 on Wednesday behind 37 saves from goaltender Braden Holtby despite losing leading scorer Evgeny Kuznetsov.
NHL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 3.0-2.4, Capitals. NHL picks on every game.
Why the Golden Knights Can Pay on the NHL Lines
Kuznetsov's status remains up in the air, as he is still listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury even though he skated during Washington's practice Friday. Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb laid a painful hit on him in Game 2, and that fired up the Capitals en route to their win. But in the aftermath, his loss could be huge since he has totaled a team-high 25 points this postseason (11 goals and 14 assists).
The Golden Knights cannot be afraid to be physical now they are on the road but need to play smarter and stay out of the penalty box while capitalizing on more scoring chances. Vegas has outshot Washington 73-54 through the first two games.
Why the Capitals Can Pay on the NHL Lines
If Kuznetsov is unable to go, Lars Eller will pick up more playing time, and he has done a great job filling in for injured teammates this postseason. Eller tallied one goal and two assists in Game 2 in 18:37 of ice time and also performed well when Nicklas Backstrom was out injured earlier in the playoffs.
Regardless, the story in Game 2 was how Holtby rebounded and outplayed counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury, capped by a miraculous save on a nearly wide-open shot by Alex Tuch with just under two minutes left. If Holtby can retain that form back at Capital One Arena, the Capitals will be tough to beat.
Smart Betting Pick
Lost in the shuffle when discussing how great the Golden Knights are at home is how good they have been on the road. Vegas has won at least two games away from home in each of the previous three rounds, going 6-2 in the postseason and clinching each series away from T-Mobile Arena.
Meanwhile, Washington is just 4-5 at home during the playoffs, with the team doing most of its damage on the road. The Golden Knights have not suffered consecutive losses since April 7, so bet on them avoiding that scenario and coming up with a bounce-back victory here in Game 3.
NHL betting trends
The total has gone under in four of Vegas' past six games.
The total has gone under in four of Washington's past five games.
Washington is 13-6 in its past 19 games.
All NHL odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.