- The Vegas Golden Knights went 3-0 in the round-robin and will open the playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks
- Chicago entered as the lowest seed in the Western Conference but upset the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 in their play-in series
- Read below to find out why the Blackhawks are a great value play in this series
The Vegas Golden Knights will open up the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks. That’s their prize for finishing the round-robin with a perfect 3-0 record.
Golden Knights vs Blackhawks Series Odds
|Vegas Golden Knights||-250|
*odds taken Aug. 8th
Vegas finished the abbreviated regular season with 14 more points than Chicago. On paper, this might look like a mismatch. For my money, the underdogs look mighty inviting especially at the +205 price tag and here’s why.
Corey Crawford Is Playoff Tested
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford had ho-hum numbers in the regular season, posting a 2.77 goals against and .917 save percentage. The difference now is these are playoff games. The two-time Stanley Cup champion has a career 2.34 goals against average in the postseason and that needs to be considered. He has always stepped up in big games for Chicago over the years.
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) August 8, 2020
Vegas is also strong in goal and will decide between Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. It appears Lehnerl picked up at the trade deadline, will get the first crack but it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see both goalies play in the series. While the decision is between two good goalies, the fact remains there are question marks in only one team’s crease to open the series.
Toews & Kane Could Cause Vegas Problems
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are two top-tier players that always seem to rise to the occasion in the playoffs. They had their way with Edmonton in the play-in series, combining for 11 points in four games. The pair play on different lines and are a matchup nightmare for opposing coaches. Expect whichever isn’t matched up against the top Golden Knights’ defensive pair to have a big series.
— NHL (@NHL) August 6, 2020
One other player to watch on Chicago is rookie Dominik Kubalik. He scored 30 goals in his first season in the NHL and began the postseason in a big way, tallying six points against Edmonton. If he can add a secondary layer of scoring the Blackhawks will be in prime position to pull off the upset in the series.
Will Chicago Have Competitive Advantage?
Here’s why you need to bet Chicago before puck drops in Round 1: I believe the teams that participated in the play-in series will have a big competitive advantage.
While the round robin teams were playing for seeding, those games lacked the intensity of the win-or-take-all round. The Blackhawks needed to win a series to continue playing this year, while the Golden Knights could have gone winless and still been just find heading into the first round.
ROUND ROBIN WALK-OFF!!!!!!! 🤪 pic.twitter.com/6vgA4zXVPw
— y-Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) August 8, 2020
Don’t worry about the 2020 Stanley Cup odds and just focus on the here and now. With Chicago already being up to speed, I think they’ll have the edge early in the series. They’ll ride that edge into a quick lead that they won’t relinquish as they qualify for Round 2.
The pick: Chicago Blackhawks (+205)
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