Jets-Golden Knights West Finals Game 3: Expect a Zoo in Sin City

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 2:59 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 15, 2018 2:59 PM UTC

It’s the first-ever Western Conference Finals game in Las Vegas on Wednesday night as the Golden Knights host the Winnipeg Jets in a crucial Game 3.

Game 3: Winnipeg (1-1) at Vegas (1-1)Free NHL Pick: ‘Under’Best Line Offered: Bovada

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Think it might be a raucous crowd in Las Vegas on Wednesday night when the wildly popular Golden Knights host their first-ever Western Conference Finals game? The Winnipeg Jets are in Sin City for Game 3 with the series tied 1-1. It’s a 9 p.m. ET puck drop on the NBC Sports Network.

What’s interesting from both these teams is that neither has lost back-to-back playoff games yet. Vegas, which swept L.A. in Round 1, lost Game 2 of the conference semifinals at home vs. the Sharks but then won 4-3 in OT in San Jose. The Sharks bounced back with a 4-0 win in Game 4, but Vegas won the final two. The Jets took Game 1 of this series 4-2 at home but lost Game 2 on Monday 3-1. Winnipeg’s only loss in the first round was Game 3 at Minnesota. The Jets alternated wins (Games 1, 3, 5, 7) in the conference semifinals vs. Nashville.

This will only be Winnipeg’s second all-time game in Las Vegas. The Jets lost there 5-2 on Nov. 10. William Karlsson scored twice to lead the Knights. Maxime Lagace was the Vegas goalie then, but certainly will not be Wednesday.

On the updated Sports Interaction series line, Winnipeg remains the -117 slight favourite with Vegas at -103. Yet the Knights winning 4-2 is the series correct score leader (as of this writing) at +320.

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Fleury Out Of Slump?

Jonathan Marchessault was the star of the Knights’ 3-1 Game 2 win with two goals. Tomas Tatar gave Vegas the lead at 13:23 of the first, his first of the playoffs. He had been a healthy scratch the previous two games. The Knights made it a point after Game 1 to come out faster and with more energy in Game 2.

Marchessault made it 2-0 at 17:22 of the first and then 3-1 at 8:45 of the third. He has six goals and nine assists in these playoffs for 15 points; the NHL record for most points by a player for a franchise in its first-ever postseason is 18 by Jude Drouin with the 1975 Islanders and Igor Larionov with the 1994 Sharks. Reilly Smith added two assists and has 12 helpers, one shy of Larionov’s NHL record for a franchise in its first-ever postseason.

Marc-Andre Fleury was the game’s No. 2 star with 30 saves. He needed a strong game after allowing at least three goals in five of his past six. It was Fleury’s 71st career playoff win, tying Jacques Plante for ninth place on the NHL’s all-time list among goaltenders.

The Jets’ lone goal was rookie Kyle Connor’s third of the playoffs, on the power play, at 7:17 of the third. Mark Scheifele, who is a top Conn Smythe Trophy candidate with his 18 playoff points, was held off the scoresheet. Connor Hellebuyck allowed three goals on 28 shots. It was the first time in three games that he allowed more than two goals.

  • Jets are 23-7 in their last 30 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
  • Golden Knights are 32-12 in their last 44 home games.
  • Under is 5-2 in Jets last 7 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
  • Under is 10-4-2 in Golden Knights last 16 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game.

How important is Wednesday’s game? When the conference semifinals or finals are tied 1-1 (since 1974-75), the winner of Game 3 holds an all-time series record of 35-8 (81.4%). I tend to lean the Jets for Game 3, but the ‘under’ is the best bet. It’s 12-5-2 in Vegas’ past 19 following a win.

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