Stars vs. Golden Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-142|
|Over/Under||5.5 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Dallas Stars live to fight another day after Joe Pavelski’s overtime goal against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday extended the NHL’s Western Conference Final to Game 5.
Thurday’s win was the first of the series for the Stars, who were facing elimination and playing without suspended captain Jamie Benn.
Benn will serve the second and final game of his suspension on Saturday night. Can the Stars stay alive long enough for him to return?
Here’s the latest on both teams, and my betting prediction for Game 5 between the Stars and Golden Knights.
The Stars’ 3-2 win in Game 4 came down to three things: Pavelski’s uncanny ability to deliver clutch goals, steady netminding from Jake Oettinger and a refuse-to-lose tenacity from Jason Robertson, who logged 11 of Dallas’s 42 shots and scored both goals during regulation. He also hit, blocked shots and showed dogged defensive determination as he raised his game in the face of elimination, earning first-star honors for his efforts.
If Robertson can bring that same intensity on Saturday, we may have a series.
The Stars will also need another good effort from Oettinger, who was pulled just 7:10 into Game 3 after giving up three goals on five shots. He rebounded on Thursday with his best game of the series, stopping 37 shots and allowing only two goals.
Thursday’s win marked the first Stars overtime win during the playoffs, breaking an 0-4 streak that included losses in Games 1 and 2. Getting over that hurdle could help inspire confidence going forward.
And yes — three of the four games in this series have gone to overtime, so Dallas has been much closer than it might appear at first glance. The Stars have a slight edge in expected goals at 5-on-5 in the series (51.69%) and their 2-for-2 power play on Thursday night was, literally, the difference in the game.
With Benn suspended and Evgenii Dadonov injured in Game 3, the Stars re-inserted defensive specialist Luke Glendening and called upon journeyman Fredrik Olofsson on the fourth line. Both comported themselves well — with fresh legs, Olofsson had five shots on goal in his first career Stanley Cup Playoff game.
Since Friday is a travel day, it’s unlikely that we’ll hear any injury or roster updates until close to game time. Rookie Mavrik Bourque also took line rushes ahead of Game 4, but did not dress. If Peter DeBoer’s current group is healthy, it’s unlikely he’ll make any tweaks to a winning lineup.
Vegas Golden Knights
Thus far in the playoffs, the Golden Knights have shown they’re deserving of their status as the top regular-season team in the Western Conference. But they finished just three points ahead of the Stars, and this series has been tight even though Vegas was one overtime goal away from completing the sweep.
The Golden Knights offense has been producing by committee. Jonathan Marchessault, Ivan Barbashev and Nicolas Roy each have four points in this round, and William Karlsson is right behind with three big goals. Head coach Bruce Cassidy has also been doing a good job of keeping his team’s ice time relatively balanced, especially on the blue line.
In net, Adin Hill is now up to nine games played and seven straight starts. His record is 6-2 and his .938 save percentage is actually slightly better than Sergei Bobrovsky (.935) with Florida, which is saying something. Despite the Game 4 loss, Hill had another strong outing, making 39 saves and logging 1.81 goals saved above expected at 5-on-5.
Stars vs. Golden Knights Pick
As good as the Golden Knights have been in the playoffs, they’ve also been lucky. Their PDO, which adds shooting percentage and save percentage and is a proxy for luck, is the highest of any team in the postseason. It’s at 1.063 — 1.00 is considered average.
In this round, that number is even more pronounced — 1.07, which leaves Dallas at a grim .930.
We never know when luck will change, but we do know that at some point, it should start to regress toward average. And things did go a little better for Dallas in Game 4: they got up to .975. So perhaps the tide is turning.
The cliche about the last game being the hardest to win stands up for a reason, though the Stars could take a step backward after giving everything they had to stay alive.
But if you combine the tenacity they demonstrated with the emotional boost of a long-awaited overtime win, and a chance to send the series back to Dallas for Game 6, we should be looking at a spirited and hard-fought game on Saturday.
The Stars may not be able to get all the way back, but look for them to stay alive in Game 5 and extend the series.
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