Stanley Cup Finals Game 5

Washington Capitals vs Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights -150, O/U 5.5

We have Game 5 game on tap tonight, where the Capitals have a chance to close out the series and win the hardest trophy in sports, Lord Stanley’s Cup. In their path, will be a Vegas team who is 7-2 at home this postseason. There is no doubt that the Capitals are playing with house money at this point, a three-game lead, and one more shot to win at home.

Game Play Predictions

Washington Capitals

-          The Capitals have scored three or more goals in each of the first four games of this series while allowing a total of five goals in the past three games.

-          The Capitals had three different players with two or more assists in Game 4, a trend which they haven’t seen this series, but had at times earlier in the postseason.

-          Their penalty kill is 10 for their last 11, a rate which is simply unbelievable but can carry them in the short term.

-          10 different players recorded a point in their Game 4 win. Three of those players had multi-point games.

Players to Watch

Alex Ovechkin – Ovi has averaged over one point per game for the entire playoffs, and with this set to be a career-defining moment for him, I see ZERO slowing down for him. Pencil in another multi-point game from him.

Braden Holtby – What else can you say about him? I was personally very low on him this season since he gave up over three goals per game, but has looked elite in the playoffs. He has allowed two or fewer goals in five of his last six games.

John Carlson – He has seven shots and six blocked shots over the past two games and with him seeing time on the first power-play unit, we should be expecting much of the same from him tonight.

Vegas Golden Knights

-          The Golden Knights have lost three games in a row for the first time since February 26th – March 2nd. With their backs against the wall, they will have to respond to adversity in a way they haven’t done before.

-          Their defense has been terrible this series, allowing three or more goals in each of the first four games. They allowed three or more goals a total of five times in the first three series combined.

-          Their power-play is 2 for 12 in this series, a trend which continues from the prior series where they were 2 for 11.

-          Vegas has taken 12 penalties over the past two games, which plays right into the strong suit for the Capitals, making this a surefire way to end their season tonight.

Players to watch

Marc-Andre Fleury – I’ve said it before about Fleury, but he simply has to be better. He gave up six goals in the last four games in the series vs the Jets. He gave up six goals in Game 4 of this series. Day and night difference for him and he has to be sharper in this game for them to have a chance.

William Karlsson – Wild Bill was the leading scorer for the Golden Knights in the regular season and he has been held without a point in their last two games. With him being on the first forward line and the first power-play unit, this is another case where they just need MORE from him.

Shea Theodore – Theodore has been one of the best defenders for Vegas throughout the year and in the playoffs…up until this point. He has a -4 rating over the past two games. Time for him to turn it around one more time at home.

Pre-Game Props

1) Which team wins the opening faceoff?

-          I’ve said it before, I generally always take the home team, so no changing that trend now. The arena will be rocking with them on the brink of elimination.

2) VGK records the last shot on goal in the 1st period. We’ll leave this open until the 2:00 mark.

-          Yes. I firmly believe Vegas will come out strongly to get the ice tilted in their favor. They simply cannot fall behind in this game, or they will be outmuscled by Washington. They need a big first period.

3) Which team records mores shots on goal in the 1st period? VGK has a +2 handicap.

-          Going with Vegas on this one, just as I said in the other one. They NEED to start off strongly or this game will be over quickly, and they’ll be looking at handshakes tonight.

4) Both teams combine for 20 or more hits in the 1st period.

-          This is a tough one, but I’m guessing both teams won’t want to take the first penalty, and we’ll see a faster and cleaner first period to see how the offenses shake out.

5) J. Neal (VGK) or A. Ovechkin (WSH) record a point in the 1st period.

-          Yes on this one for me. They both play up on the top forward lines, along with the top power-play units, so if there are extra chances, they will be there to capitalize on it.

6) Either team records a hit and a shot on goal by the 18:00 mark

-          This is a true toss-up in my mind. I want to lean to yes, but it probably will be very close, given how short of a time frame this one has.