The Vegas Golden Knights are back in the Stanley Cup playoffs after shocking the world in their inaugural 2017-18 season – but the road to the final will likely be a lot rougher this time around as the Golden Knights kick off their first-round series Wednesday night in San Jose. The Sharks stumbled through the final portion of the schedule with losses in nine of their final 12 games, and split four meetings with Vegas during the regular season.
Golden Knights vs Sharks Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Analysis
Recent form probably played a factor in the Sharks’ modest odds advantage in the series opener – and so, too, has their home struggles vs. the Golden Knights. San Jose went 25-11-5 at SAP Center this season, but has won just three of the seven home games it has played against Vegas, dropping two in last year’s six-game playoff ouster at the hands of the Golden Knights. That said, Vegas comes in having lost four consecutive road contests.
Nearly two-thirds of Sports Interaction bettors are siding with the visitors in this one, while a slight majority favour the over 6 goals play on the total. That’s not surprising when you consider that the teams averaged seven goals in their four regular-season meetings, and combined for seven or more goals four times in last year’s six-game playoff series. San Jose has exceeded the number in each of its past four home games overall.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights didn’t quite reach the lofty heights of their unbelievable first season, but they came close. And Vegas’ success in 2018-19 was built on the capable goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury, who had another sensational season in Sin City. The three-time Stanley Cup champion had eight shutouts – second only to Sergei Bobrovsky of Columbus – and is 8-4-3 with a 2.12 goals-against average all-time vs. the Sharks.
San Jose Sharks
Expect the Sharks to give Fleury all he can handle after finishing tied with the Calgary Flames for the second-highest scoring average in the NHL at 3.52 goals per game. But while San Jose hasn’t struggled to score goals, it has had a major problem preventing them: The Sharks have the highest team goals-against average (3.15) of any of the 16 playoff participants while also boasting the lowest save percentage (.889) in the entire NHL.