In this Western Conference playoff series, in which the winner likely moves on to face the Florida Panthers, the Dallas Stars have come close in two games, but a mistake or bad break has led to their demise.
So BetOnline customers know that they are not too far from getting back in this thing. And perhaps a trip back to the American Airlines Center might do the trick. The Stars will play host to the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3 at 8:05 PM ET.
Vegas was trailing 2-1 in the latter stages of Game 2 when Jonathan Marchessault scored the tying goal with 2:22 remaining. Then very quickly in overtime, All-Star center Chandler Stephenson put it past Jake Oettinger for the winner.
There are a number of things that probably contributed to the Knights' victory, but what was very important was putting some pressure on by the guys in the middle. It wasn't easy, because Dallas went into a defensive shell that made it difficult to get close. Jack Eichel and the aforementioned Stephenson were a couple of the guys who gave Vegas some scoring chances. And that makes sense, since they were the team's two leading scorers in the regular season.
There was also a tremendous effort on the part of goaltender Adin Hill, which we are going to talk about in a moment.
The overtime loss represented a big problem Dallas has had in these playoffs, as they have dropped all four decisions when they've gone into extra time.
In the NHL playoff betting odds placed on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Stars are the favorites:
Dallas Stars -141
Vegas Golden Knights +128
Over 5.5 Goals -108
Under 5.5 Goals -102
And on the puck line.....
Stars -1.5 Goals +190
Knights +1.5 Goals -220
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How many times does a team start to win because they've had a hot goalie? When Laurent Brossoit got injured against Edmonton, Adin Hill has stepped in and been almost impenetrable. This is a sixth-year man who has struggled to find a regular spot with an NHL team, and he is competing in his first postseason.
And now he has won five of his last six games, stopping 93% of shots on goal during that period. The timing couldn't be better for him, as he is a free agent in the summer.
Yes, there are happy times in the Vegas camp right now. But there is no reason to relax. The interesting thing is that if you listen to Dallas coach Pete DeBoer and some of the players, they are not too dissatisfied with the way they played in Game 2.
That's probably because they believe they have found a defensive formula that will work for them. It kind of resembles a zone defense in basketball that is designed to collapse on the middle and clog the passing lanes for the guys inside. It has forced Vegas to operate a lot from the outside.
It hasn't been airtight on all occasions, but as for the errors they made on the final two goals that the Knights scored, they think they can correct them. And Vegas' first goal came on an unusual 5-on-3 advantage, which you can't necessarily fault the defensive scheme or goaltender Oettinger for.
More encouragement comes by way of Jason Robertson, who had gone eight games in a row without a goal but has put one in the net in each of his last two outings.
There is certainly no need to panic, and we expect that DeBoer will once again out his team out there in way that offers as much protection as possible for Oettinger. So we'll roll with the "under" in this game, as well as taking Dallas on the money line.
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