NHL picks: 4 best bets for Golden Knights vs Canadiens Game 3
Our NHL expert has picked out his four best bets for Game 3 between the Montreal Canadiens and Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night.
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Montreal Canadiens to win
I’ve got to be honest, I planned on picking the Golden Knights in every game for this series. I was tempted here, especially now that they’re not as heavily favored as they were on home ice. However, in each of the previous two series, Vegas lost two straight at one point in the series. If it’s going to happen in this one, Game 3 might be the spot for it.
I still firmly believe the Golden Knights are going to win the series, but the Habs have a chance to jump on the favorites here. Vegas is going to be coming into a more subdued environment than they’ve played in over the last few weeks, where they’ve had raucous crowds in Vegas. That’s an adjustment they have to make that Montreal does not. Additionally, this is going to be the longest road trip by distance of the season so far for Vegas who has spent all year out West.
On top of it all, Carey Price has been especially dialed in and looked phenomenal in Game 2. He’s won eight of his last nine starts, and had a .935 save percentage or greater in five of those games. He’s been an absolute beast. I don’t know if he can steal them the series, but I believe he can steal a few games.
Vegas was 3-3 on the road in the first two rounds. If they don’t manage to score the first goal in Game 3, it could be a long night for them.
Under 5.5 total goals
Both games have ended with five goals between the two teams and I think this one could even end up being a lower-scoring affair with the Habs on home ice. They’ll be able to dictate matchups a bit more, while both Price and Marc-Andre Fleury have been playing at the level we expect both of them to.
There will be a game where the barn doors open up for goals, but I don’t think this is the one. The goalies have been too good and the team defense too sharp for both sides.
Cole Caufield to score 1+ point
With points in five of his last six games, the rookie has been heating up this postseason. He scored his first career playoff goal in Game 1 and had a beautiful set-up of Tyler Toffoli’s goal in Game 2.
After missing the first two games of the postseason as a healthy scratch, Caufield has built up his game to be a consistent contributor. He’s looked threatening in just about every game he’s played from the Winnipeg series on. Responsible for seven shots on goal so far over two games in the series, he’s getting his chances and more times than not.
Also, as the pass he made on Toffoli’s goal in Game 2 showed, he’s got some exceptionally deceptive skills that are challenging the Vegas defense. He’s been a lot of fun to watch.
Under 6.5 total 2-min penalties
After calling seven penalties in Game 1, referees called two – both on Montreal – in Game 2. I expect there will be some late makeup calls that send Vegas to the box, but not so many that we hit the over here. In three of the last four games, Vegas has been whistled for one or fewer penalties.
There’s not a ton of bad blood in this series either. Things got chippy at the end of the last game, but I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of retaliatory stuff for either side. This is a crucial game and both teams will be looking to avoid trips to the penalty box as they try to take control of the series.
I’d expect a few penalties, but not enough to hit the over.
BOOSTED DOUBLE: Montreal to win & under 5.5 goals
BETWAY BOOST: Cole Caufield to score 1+ points
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