Latest NHL Playoff Betting News: Knights on the Cusp, More

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:
May/24/2023

There are just four teams remaining in the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs, but that number could be halved very soon. Conference finals are taking place as of this writing, and both of those series may well end immediately.

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It’s not business as usual in the East, as the rank-outsider Florida Panthers are on the verge of getting to the Final. It’s been more normal in the West, though that series has not been as competitive as expected.

Here’s what’s taken place to this point…

Knights on the Cusp

The Vegas Golden Knights need just to earn a second trip to the Finals in their half-dozen seasons of existence. Vegas is looking poised to summarily eliminate Dallas.

With a pair of rallying, overtime home wins to to start the series, Vegas then invaded Texas and took no prisoners. It was the Golden Knights quickly controlling Tuesday night’s Game 3, cruising to a 4-0 victory.

Jonathan Marchessault scored 1:11 into the game, and the Knights never gave the Stars a shot. A poor effort by goalie Jake Oettinger (three goals on five shots before getting the hook) left Dallas in an insurmountable hole. Fans weren’t happy with the officials and their team’s play. so they began throwing objects onto the ice late in the second period.
Vegas lost to the Washington Capitals in five games in the 2018 Cup Final, the Knights’ inaugural season in the league. Game 4 is Thursday evening in Texas, with the Stars listed as -125 favorites, according to NHL odds.

Benn Loses His Cool

So, not only did the Dallas Stars lose their third straight game in the Western Conference Finals, they lost their captain after a stupid incident in the first period. Jamie Benn was given a match penalty in the first two minutes-Dallas down, 1-0-after cross-checking Mark Stone.

Benn and Stone were battling, Stone falling to the ice in front of Benn. Benn then delivered a cross-check to Stone, pushing his head onto the ice to “earn” the rest of the night off.

While none of his teammates or coaching staff criticized Benn after the game, it was clear it had an impact.

Stone was able to remain in the game, and isn’t expected to miss time.

NHL will conduct a hearing, speaking with Benn and looking at video of the infraction. It's not expected to come with a suspension, as Benn already had missed essentially all of Game 3.

Panthers Can’t Be Tamed

Who had this? It’s the Florida Panthers with a 3-0 series lead over the Carolina Hurricanes, trying to sweep away the Canes Wednesday night in south Florida. Entering the Eastern Conference Finals as heavy underdogs, Florida’s stymied Carolina during this series.

Matthew Tkachuk scored the overtime winner in both Game 1 and 2, and he also had an assist on the lone (Sam Reinhart) goal in Game 3. Panther goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was excellent in the last game, as in a 32-save shutout as Florida took the series by the throat.

Carolina will try to send the teams back to Raleigh, but struggled mightily to find any offense.

At the time of this writing, Florida is the +125 second choice (Vegas at -115) to lift the trophy, as per Stanley Cup odds.

Barkov Missing Game 4?

Everything hasn’t gone right with the Florida Panthers, as they could be playing Game 4 without captain Aleksander Barkov. During the team’s 1-0 win in Game 3, Barkov was forced to leave in the first period with a lower-body injury.

Doctors then determined Barkov didn't have a serious injury, however. He is officially listed as questionable ahead of Game 4 Wednesday evening.

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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