The Dallas Stars would not be in the NHL's Western Conference Finals without No. 1 goaltender Jake Oettinger, who is having the best season of his career. However, Oettinger was decidedly not good and got pulled in the Stars' 4-0 home loss to Vegas in Game 3 on Tuesday. The Stars are facing a sweep Thursday, but are -125 favorites at BetMGM. Oettinger will start – but captain Jamie Benn will be sidelined with a suspension.
Pretty shockingly one-sided action on this game with just 12% of bets to win and 9% of money on the Stars. On the total of 5.5 goals, 41% of bets and 68% of money are on the Under.
Oettinger stopped just two of five shots in Game 3 before being yanked for backup Scott Wedgewood. Oettinger has struggled in the Western Conference Finals, posting a 4.63 GAA and an .848 save percentage through three contests, but he's still clearly better than Wedgewood – who stopped 10 of 11 shots in relief on Tuesday. Wedgewood has allowed four goals on 29 shots this postseason.
As for Benn, he made a stupid mistake in Game 3 by getting a major penalty and a game misconduct after cross-checking the Knights' Mark Stone, who was already down on the ice, about two minutes into the game. Benn left after the game without talking to reporters, which isn't captain-like.
Benn was suspended for two games Wednesday. His season is likely over, as I don't expect the Stars to win both Game 4 and then a Las Vegas-set Game 5 in Las Vegas. He has 11 points this postseason and finished the regular season with 78 points, second on the team, behind only Jason Robertson's record-setting 109. If Vegas is able to complete the sweep, Benn will be ineligible to play in his team's 2023-24 regular-season opener.
"Obviously didn't want to take a five-minute penalty, but when the game happens fast, emotions are high," Benn said. "Obviously I would've liked to not fall on him and I guess use my stick as the landing point."
Fellow forward Evgenii Dadonov (lower body) is unlikely to play Thursday. He left Game 3 in Las Vegas after colliding with Roope Hintz in the first period. Dadonov has four goals and 10 points in 16 playoff appearances this year.
The most popular player props for the game are: Wyatt Johnson Over 2.5 shots (+110); Tyler Seguin Over 2.5 shots (-135); Jonathan Marchessault Over 0.5 points (-140); Jason Robertson first goal scorer (+900); and Jack Eichel first goal scorer (+1000).
Vegas is a win from its second Stanley Cup Finals appearance in franchise history and would face the Florida Panthers. The Golden Knights would be the eighth franchise in league history to reach the final multiple times within its first six NHL seasons, following the Oilers (3x), Blues (3x), Rangers (3x), Bruins (3x), original Ottawa Senators (3x), Montreal Maroons (2x) and Toronto Arenas/St. Patricks (2x).
Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill has a five-game winning streak dating to Round 2 with a 1.98 GAA and .942 SV following Tuesday's shutout. The only NHL goaltender with a longer winning streak during the same playoff year in which he made his postseason debut are Bill Durnan (8-0 in 1944), Antti Niemi (7-0 in 2010), Cam Ward (7-0 in 2006), Ilya Bryzgalov (6-0 in 2006), Vesa Toskala (6-0 in 2006) and Jean-Sebastien Giguere (6-0 in 2003).
Laurent Brossoit opened the postseason as the Las Vegas starter but got hurt. Hill and Brossoit have joined Philadelphia's Phil Myre and Pete Peeters in 1980 as the only goalie teammates to each have a five-game winning streak in a single postseason.
Dallas is 0-7 all-time in playoff series when trailing 3-0, and Vegas is 2-0 when it leads by that score. The Knights were +1100 long shots to sweep when the series opened. They would host Florida in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals with a date TBA -- depends how many games this series goes. If Vegas ends it tonight, Game 1 reportedly would be next Wednesday.
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