Each day, Last Word on Hockey takes a look at the games that are happening and gives our predictions for each one, breaking down head-to-head and other factors that may play in. We also have a featured game of the day, which is considered must-watch TV. Today’s featured game is the Vegas Golden Knights vs Florida Panthers. Keep checking our NHL predictions throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Vegas Golden Knights vs Florida Panthers
Series: Golden Knights 2-0 Panthers
Game 3 is the focus of this edition of NHL predictions. The Vegas Golden Knights are two wins away from their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Projected starter Adin Hill continues to set himself up for a big contract with his stellar play in goal. Jack Eichel has the third-most points of any player making his post-season debut. Jonathan Marchessault has also put himself into the mix in the race for the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP. The Knights have done a great job of taking away the middle of the ice from the Panthers. Vegas has also done a great job of frustrating Matthew Tkachuk and getting into his head. The Golden Knights even chased Panthers’ goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 2.
Florida is hoping that the rough performances for the first two games stay in Vegas. The Panthers may be without defenceman Radko Gudas after he got banged up on a reverse hit. Having an extra day off may help Florida get back the rugged blueliner. Florida has struggled in the first two games to get changes and also has been stymied by Hill. Bobrovsky should get the start in net, but Alex Lyon is waiting in case of another shaky outing. However, Bobrovsky has played like the goalie the team handed out a $10 million contract to a few seasons ago. Head coach Paul Maurice confirmed the Russian netmnder as the starter on Wednesday. Maybe the home crowd can also inject life into the Cats.
Florida should get the benefit of the extra day of rest and the home crowd. However, Vegas has a ton of momentum on its side. The Panthers are 0-6 in Stanley Cup Final games, but they’ll at least get back into the series with a win.
Prediction: Panthers win 3-2.
Main photo by: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sport