Handicapper expects Golden Knights to fly past Jets in Game 3

Updated May 16, 2018 - 9:08 am

In what might prove to have been a preview of the Stanley Cup Final, the Golden Knights beat the Washington Capitals 3-0 two days before Christmas at T-Mobile Arena.

At the NHL All-Star Weekend more than a month later, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin described the atmosphere at Las Vegas’ home rink in glorious fashion.

“It’s not a regular rink,” he said. “It’s kind of like an unbelievable show, you get excited. It’s like you’re in a nightclub. It’s like a party. Everybody dancing over there. It’s like, ‘Are we in a hockey game or is this like a pool party out there?’ They’re very, very tough to play against. They jump in right away. They have tremendous skill and tremendous speed. When you’re not ready, you’re going to be in a tough position.”

The Winnipeg Jets will try to crash the Knights’ party at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. But handicapper Dana Lane expects the Knights to party on at home and take a 2-1 series lead.

The Knights, 9-3 in the playoffs and 4-1 at home, are favorites ranging from minus 135 to minus 145 at Las Vegas sports books.

“I love the Golden Knights coming home, especially at the (minus 135) price. I think that’s pretty reasonable,” said Lane (@DanaLaneSports). “It’s going to be an absolute insane asylum (at T-Mobile Arena), like it should be. I have no problem taking the Golden Knights because I think they’re going to win the series.”

After the Knights gave up three quick goals in the first period of Game 1 en route to a 4-2 loss, they’ve outplayed the Jets, outscoring them 5-2 in the last five periods while tying the series with a 3-1 victory in Game 2.

“They were overwhelmed by the crowd for 10 minutes in Game 1, and after that, if (Jets coach) Paul Maurice was being honest with you, he’d tell you, ‘We might be in trouble here,’ ” Lane said. “Any coach will tell you, if they’re being honest, that their goal is to win one game on the road. They’ve done that, and now they own home-ice advantage, and that’s all you can ask for. Three of the next five games are going to be at T-Mobile Arena.”

Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals in Game 2 that were assisted by Reilly Smith, and William Karlsson also assisted on Marchessault’s goal that helped seal the win at the 8:45 mark of the third period.

“That top line was amazing,” Lane said. “Jonathan Marchessault was as good as I’ve ever seen him this whole year. We always talk about depth, but your best players always have to be your best players.

“This team literally goes three lines deep now, having (Alex) Tuch, (Ryan) Carpenter and (Cody) Eakin.”

Lane also has been impressed with Knights coach Gerard Gallant, who continues to make all the right moves during this magical ride.

“He’s almost created this atmosphere where if you don’t play for a bit, you kind of feel left out,” Lane said. “We saw Tomas Tatar sit after playing against the Sharks, then he comes back (Monday) night and scores a goal. When you’re not in the lineup for a couple days, you come back with a vengeance. People want to be part of this amazing thing that’s going on here.”

The total is 5½ (Over minus 120), and the Knights are plus 210 on the puck line (minus 1½). The Knights have won three of their last four postseason games by at least two goals.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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