The Vegas Golden Knights are slight favorites on Friday night, as they host the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. The Golden Knights got a brilliant performance from goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to win Game 3 by a score of 4-2 and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Jets will be looking to bounce back and win a critical Game 4 on Friday night in Vegas. Let’s look at the contest and NHL Playoff picks.
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Vegas is listed as a -130 favorite to win Game 4, with the total listed at 5.5 over. The Jets have been a good road team this season, but Vegas has been excellent at home. Winnipeg played a very good game on Wednesday in Game 3 but Fleury simply was too good. Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals and the Golden Knights now lead the series 2-1. Vegas is now 5-1 at home in the playoffs. "We worked all year to get in a position like that," Marchessault said. "We definitely can't take it for granted. They got to come out like their season's on the line, so we've got to be ready to push back and get some energy off the crowd." Marchessault leads Vegas with 17 points in the playoffs.
The Jets got two more goals from Mark Scheifele who leads the NHL in goals scored in the playoffs with 14. "A few miscues and they made us pay for it; that can't happen," Scheifele said. "We can't sulk on this too long. We've got to pick ourselves up tomorrow and be ready for a big game on Friday."
Teams with a 2-1 lead in the conference final or the Stanley Cup Final have gone on to win 81.4% of the time since 1975. "That's an important challenge," Jets coach Paul Maurice said to the media. "We're going to have to be able to handle that. It would be rare that you lead the series straight through. We want to make sure we deal with our loss, don't carry it too heavily and then come up with our finest game of the post-season."
There is no question the key player for the Golden Knights is Fleury. He simply stole the Game 3 win. “He's made unbelievable saves," head coach Gerrard Gallant said, "They were obviously important at a key time for us. That's Fleury. He's been great all playoffs, he's been great all year for us. He's a guy that has fun out there. I'm sweating on the bench yelling my head off and I look down there and he's just having fun."
Winnipeg has not lost three straight games since mid-March. The Jets are 7-3 in their last 10 road games. The Golden Knights are 33-12 in their last 45 home games. The Over is 4-0 in the Jets last 4 road games. The Over is 4-0 in the Golden Knights last 4 home games.
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I continue to be amazed by the play of the Golden Knights, as they continue to find ways to win. I still think Winnipeg is the better team and that they can win this series, but if Fleury continues to stand on his head I will be proven wrong. If the Jets are to have any chance of winning this series then they almost have to win Game 4 on Friday night. I will take Winnipeg to win on Friday and I also can’t ignore the trends on the total, so I will play the game over the total.
NHL Odds: Jets 4, Golden Knights 2
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