NHL: Las Vegas Golden Knights and Carolina Hurricanes target second round berths
The first-round playoffs are hanging delicately in the balance. Las Vegas Golden Knights fans will be looking to punch a ticket to the second round by seeing off Minnesota Wild, while the Carolina Hurricanes will be hoping to take out the Nashville Predators. We look ahead to these crunch encounters, and check in on the latest match odds.
Las Vegas Golden Knights can make home advantage count
The Golden Knights have been here before. Heading into the final game of the series against Wild, they have squandered a 3-1 lead for the third straight postseason. Although they completed the job against the Vancouver Canucks in the second round last year, they choked against the San Jose Sharks in 2019. Awaiting the winner of the tie in round two will be Colorado Avalanche.
But the Golden Knights will have a home-ice advantage for the pivotal final game. Things are in the balance, and this point was addressed by Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer. He said: “Listen, those have gone our way before. We felt it was worth the challenge.”
- Las Vegas Golden Knights to beat Minnesota Wild @+104 with Casumo
- Total Goals by Las Vegas Golden Knights Regular Time Over 2.5 @-148 with Casumo
Momentum with Minnesota Wild going into Game 7
It seemed unlikely that Wild would mount the sort of fightback they were able to going into Game 6. Although Game 6 was rather tense in the early stages, Wild managed to hang on. They showed great defensive resilience, and they were able to hang around before the floodgates opened.
Cam Talbot should take the credit for stirring the win?
If one player deserves credit for keeping Wild alive in the series, then that is Cam Talbot. In Game 6, he kept a shutout making 23 saves. While Wild did edge out the Knights in attempts on goal (24-23), Talbot’s contribution was invaluable, and he could help drag the Wild over the line.
Carolina Hurricanes hold the cards as series nears conclusion
Going into Game 6, the Hurricanes are 3-2 up in the series against the Nashville Predators. Although they could wrap things up before the weekend, they are taking nothing for granted. The Canes had to dig deep in Game 5, as they recovered to claim a 3-2 victory in Overtime earlier this week.
Whether the Hurricanes can hold their nerve in Game 6 remains to be seen. Jordan Staal, who netted the winner in Overtime, was ecstatic, describing the game as ‘fun’, but he is refusing to get carried away. He said: “We’ve still got some work to do, but it felt good.”
In Game 1, Staal grabbed two goals. And he has been joined by team-mates Sebastian Aho, Brock McGinn, and Martin Necas, who have also had two-goal games against the Predators in the series. One other notable statistic from Game 5, was the Canes posted 66 hits. This is the highest of any team since the NHL started tracking this in the 2005-06 campaign.
Can Nashville Predators pull off an upset?
Few would have scarcely believed that the Predators would have got this far. Although the Preds won both their games of the series in Overtime, they were made to pay the price for sloppy play. However, the Preds have shown they can dictate the tempo of a game when required, and get into shooting zones seamlessly.
If we take a cursory look at the head-to-head record, it may be hard to pick a winner. There have been 34 clashes between the two sides in the NHL, and the record is split at 17-17. If the Predators can win Game 6, and then Game 7, who knows how far they may go.
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