The Florida Panthers have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final after sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes and the Vegas Golden Knights will look to do the same on Thursday when they face the Dallas Stars in Game 4 of the Western Conference final.
Read on for odds, news, predictions, and best bets. Also, check out the VSiN Hockey Betting Podcast Monday – Friday throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Stanley Cup Playoffs: Odds, news, predictions, and best bets for Thursday, May 25th
Panthers sweep Hurricanes, advance to Stanley Cup Final
The Eastern Conference final was one of the more competitive sweeps I can remember. I mean, all four games were decided by one goal and two were decided in overtime. But Game 4 might go down as the most memorable thanks to a dramatic finish.
The Panthers and Hurricanes battled hard for four games, but the latter could not overcome Sergei Bobrovsky’s herculean efforts. When it finally did look like they might be able to score enough goals to win a game, Matthew Tkachuk shattered their dreams by scoring the go-ahead goal with just 4.3 seconds left on the clock.
So, it should come as no surprise that Bobrovsky (2/1) and Tkachuk (+350) have the best odds to win the Conn Smythe award. The Panthers are going to be underdogs in the Stanley Cup Final, though, especially if the Golden Knights can close out the Stars in short order, and that means players like Jack Eichel (4/1) and Mark Stone (+650) are still in a good position to win the award.
Today’s NHL Odds via VSiN
Vegas Golden Knights (-105) at Dallas Stars (-115)
Sportsbooks had Dallas listed as high as -160 on the moneyline heading into Game 3 on Tuesday, but after a shutout loss to Vegas, and a suspension to their captain, Jamie Benn, the Stars’ moneyline is sitting at just -115 heading into Game 4. Benn will miss Game 4, and Game 5, if necessary, but how Jake Oettinger plays in the remaining games matters a lot more. The 24-year-old goaltender was pulled for the third time in the playoffs after allowing three goals on five shots in Game 3.
Oettinger has had just one quality start since the first round (Game 7 versus Seattle), according to Evolving Hockey, and he’s allowed approximately three goals above expected in the Western Conference final. Oettinger did come back strong after being pulled in Game 6 versus Seattle, but he’s run out of chances at this point. There’s no more room for mistakes.
Wyatt Johnston Over 2.5 Shots on Goal (+110)
The Stars’ rookie continues to turn heads, and even after losing both of his linemates, Jamie Benn and Evgenii Dadonov, in Game 3 he still managed to register four shots on goal. It was the fourth game in a row that Johnston finished with at least four shots on goal, and he has had at least three shots in nine out of 15 games this postseason.
Normally, I’d be a bit hesitant to go back to the well on a player who is likely going to be playing on a totally different line, with different players altogether, but Johnston is now on the top power play unit, and that’s a big promotion. Sportsbooks have adjusted the odds on Johnston hitting the net over 2.5 times a lot, but at +110, I still think it’s worth betting on him to do it again.
I'm also considering betting some Vegas players in this market, like forward Jonathan Marchessault, who leads the team in shot attempts and shots on goal, but the Golden Knights haven't been generating much over the last couple of games. Vegas registered just 24 shots on goal in Game 2, which extended into overtime, and because they were afforded the option of sitting back and defending in Game 3 thanks to an early 3-0 lead. That led to Vegas generating just 16 shots on goal in the game.
All bets tracked via Betstamp.
Check out the VSiN Hockey Betting Podcast Monday – Friday throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.