Stanley Cup by the odds: Sports book preview and pick of Game 3

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Wade Vandervort

Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury blocks a shot during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

Sat, Jun 2, 2018 (2 a.m.)

The Vegas Golden Knights only fell to back-to-back losses twice all season with Marc-Andre Fleury in net.

They’re favored to suffer that fate for the third time in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at 5 p.m. tonight in Washington. The Capitals have held as a minus-130 (risking $1.30 to win $1) favorite with the NHL championship series shifting to their home Capital One Arena.

The Golden Knights come back at plus-110 (risking $1 to win $1.10), as the game 3 line has stayed relatively static in comparison to the movement on the first two games. The odds were a bit shorter in Vegas’ only trip to Washington in the regular season, as the home team closed at minus-120 with the Golden Knights at Even money.

Vegas prevailed 4-3 in the early February meeting behind two goals from Reilly Smith, but much has changed in the ensuing four months. Washington has increased its efficiency in the playoffs, behind both improved goaltending and offense.

Washington goalie Braden Holtby has posted a 2.19 goals against average and .921 save percentage in the postseason as opposed to figures of 2.99 and .907, respectively, in the regular season. The Capitals have also upped its goals per game from 3.15 in the regular season to 3.47 in the postseason.

But top-line center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has an NHL-high 25 points in the playoffs, is a big reason for the transformation and he may not play. Kuznetsov is day-to-day with an injury to his left arm after Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb checked him into the boards early in Washington’s 3-2 Game 2 win on Wednesday.

The outcomes of both major primary betting options flipped from Game 1 to Game 2, as not only did Vegas win on Monday as a minus-150 favorite but also helped the contest blow past the over/under of 5.5 goals. Over 5.5 bettors were tormented in the final period of Game 2, as Vegas had a number of scoring chances but couldn’t cash in on one against Holtby.

For the first time in the series, the over/under 5.5 goals is at minus-110 on both sides for Game 3.

The effectiveness of Holtby and Fleury will determine the fate of the total — likely along with the outcome of the game.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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