Why to Bet on the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup

Why To Bet On The Vegas Golden Knights To Win The Stanley Cup

In what could shape up to be a classic Stanley Cup final, the Vegas Golden Knights will meet the Washington Capitals and settle once and for all which team is the best in the NHL this season.

The upstart expansion Knights were a +20000 long shot to win the Stanley Cup before the season started while the Capitals were close to the top of the oddsboard at +1000. While some may view this as a David vs Goliath type of matchup, I’m here to explain why Vegas should be viewed as the Goliath in this metaphor and crush the Capitals. Here are three reasons why the Vegas Golden Knights will win the Stanley Cup:

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Home-ice Advantage

Playing at T-Mobile Arena has been characterized as a rock concert by NHL columnists and for an expansion team like the Golden Knights, home ice has given them a supreme edge in this series.

The Knights finished with the second-best home record in the league during the regular season and once the postseason arrived, they continued to excel in their barn as Vegas is 6-1 SU in seven games at home in the playoffs, outscoring their competition 25-12 in those games. It’s also worth noting that their only loss came via an overtime goal by the San Jose Sharks.

The Golden Knights are holding teams to an average of 1.71 goals per game at home while scoring 3.57 goals per game and the stellar play in their barn will be one of the key reasons why the Knights win this series.

Superior Goaltending

Vegas’s first pick in the expansion draft last June was easily the best pick the team made. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had the pedigree of a Stanley Cup champion and was a luxury that Pittsburgh couldn’t afford once netminder Matt Murray emerged to guide the Penguins in their back-to-back championships.

But GM George McPhee was happy to take him off the Penguins’ hands and Fleury has done nothing but post spectacular numbers and provide a calming presence between the pipes. Flower finished the season with 29 wins in 46 starts, a 2.56 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage, which placed him in the top five in those categories in the NHL. But in the playoffs, Fleury has upped his game, making spectacular game-changing saves and posting a 1.68 goals-against average to go with a .947 save percentage.

While timely goal scoring and a stout defense have been the Knights’ winning recipe throughout the playoffs, neither of those factors would matter if it weren’t for outstanding goaltending by the front-runner for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Quick-Strike Offense and Penalty Kill

One of the drawbacks of not having an elite superstar like an Alexander Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby is it becomes more of a “scoring by committee” to get goals on the board for teams like the Knights. And that’s exactly what Vegas has done as it had six players who scored 20 or more goals this season, including William Karlsson, who notched 43 markers. The “sharing the load” type of approach led the Knights to an astounding 34-7 SU record when scoring first this season and carried over to the postseason as they’re now 10-1 SU in 11 playoff games when they strike first.

Vegas has also done most of its damage in five-on-five play, scoring 32 of its 43 goals in the playoffs at even strength, which leads the NHL at 74 percent. Since playoff hockey can be gritty with teams trying to manufacture some sort of scoring, the Knights have a clear edge in this category by not having to rely on special teams to get the job done.

Despite these convincing points, Stephen Campbell disagrees and thinks the Washington Capitals will win the Stanley Cup. You can check out his argument here.