Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals is tonight. Should we shift our thinking after seeing several goals in each of the first two games of this series? What is the best way to approach tonight's game?
Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Header links are to numberFire's betting model for each game. All NHL betting odds and totals come from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Florida Panthers ML (-122)
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas -- unless it's going down 0-2 in a series; that comes back home with you.
The Florida Panthers return home to host the Vegas Golden Knights after getting punched in the mouth over the first two games. A total of 12 goals allowed over those two games are more than the Panthers surrendered in their entire four-game series against the Carolina Hurricanes and is tied with the amount Florida gave up in their five-game series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Suffice it to say, things could've gone better in the first two games against Vegas. However, there are some rays of hope for the Panthers, and it points to their moneyline as the play tonight.
Over the first two games, the Panthers had 7.02 Expected Goals Scored in all situations (xGF), compared to 7.18 xGF for the Golden Knights. The Panthers scored only 4 actual goals while the Golden Knights poured in 12. The Panthers are clearly underperforming on offense right now while the Golden Knights have been on the right side of variance.
We also see the Panthers controlling things -- to an extent -- with a 55.25% Corsi For Percentage (Total Shot Attempts Created), while the Golden Knights are at 44.75%. With a +27 shot attempt differential in favor of the Panthers, their lack of scoring really jumps out at you.
The Golden Knights are set to see their scoring rate regress, and the Panthers should see an uptick in goals scored. This should lead to the Panthers finding the back of the net and coming away with a win on Thursday.