The first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs are officially in the rearview mirror, and just two teams remain in the Western Conference — the Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars.
The first two rounds have seen both teams face tough opponents, with the Golden Knights overcoming the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers and the Stars besting the Minnesota Wild and Seattle Kraken. Going into this series, the Golden Knights have Stanley Cup odds of +225, and the Stars trail at +325.
So who will win the Western Conference Final, and which players should you watch?
I predict the Dallas Stars will win the Western Conference Final in seven games, but according to implied betting odds, the Golden Knights are predicted to win the series with 58.33% confidence.
In the 2022-23 regular season, the Stars met the Golden Knights three times and won all three games, which bodes well for them. Even after watching Vegas hold off the high-powered offense of the Edmonton Oilers in the second round, I think Dallas will have the edge in this series, though I expect it to be tight.
Both teams have exceptional rosters.
Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, Chandler Stephenson, and Jonathan Marchessault have been incredible for the Golden Knights, while Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson, Joe Pavelski, and Max Domi have dominated for the Stars.
The biggest difference between the two teams’ chances is in net, where the Stars have an absolute weapon in Jake Oettinger.
Since the Golden Knights had the better regular-season record and, therefore, have home ice advantage, Games 1, 2, 5, and 7 will be played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, while Games 3, 4, and 6 will be played at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Jason Robertson Will Record Over 20 Shots
In the regular season, Robertson put up 46 goals, 63 assists, 109 points, and 313 shots for the Golden Knights, before adding another 22 shots in the first round of the playoffs and 15 in the second. Going into the conference final against the Golden Knights, I think Robertson will be a player to watch.
In his four-year career, this is Robertson’s second season making the playoffs.
His stats in the 2022-23 regular season and playoffs prove how much he’s improved since last year, and another 20 shots in the conference final shouldn’t be too much of an ask for the 23-year-old star.
Eichel recorded 27 goals, 39 assists, 66 points, and 223 shots during the regular season before backing it up with five points in the first round and nine in the second. Now heading into the conference final to face the Stars, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 26-year-old center keep turning up the heat.
In his eighth season in the NHL (second with the Golden Knights), this is Eichel’s first trip to the playoffs.
He’s been a consistent high-performer since his debut and this season has been no exception, so I don’t expect him to take his foot off the gas in the conference final.
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Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.