The Western Conference Final will pit the best team in the conference against the best goalie remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Vegas Golden Knights, the No. 1 seed in the West will take on the Dallas Stars. Game 1 of the best-of-7 series will be Friday, May 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Here we’ll go over predictions for the series.
2023 NHL Playoffs: Golden Knights vs. Stars prediction
This series will likely come down to how good Jake Oettinger is and if the Dallas goalie can steal a series with enough offensive contributions. Vegas is the better team, but they have some questions in goal. The Golden Knights have used a handful of goalies this season and another handful in the playoffs. Laurent Brossoit, who has started 10 playoff games for Vegas, will not play in the Conference Finals. Adin Hill proved his mettle with 38 saves against the Edmonton Oilers to close them out in Game 6. It’s possible that All-Star rookie Logan Thompson can return for the Golden Knights in this series. However it shakes it Bruce Cassidy has seemed to make the right moves.
Vegas has the deepest group of forwards remaining in the postseason. They can roll out three solid lines of scoring and all offer different a skill set. Jack Eichel has thrived in his first playoff, leading the Golden Knights with 14 points (six goals, eight assists) while showing mettle as a two-way player with solid defense. Vegas has five different players that have scored five or more goals during the playoffs. Hill shouldn’t be expected to have a .934 save percentage this round, but he’ll get the support.
Through two rounds, Dallas center Roope Hintz is one of the leaders to win the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP. He has 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists), which leads the NHL, and has been at his best when the Stars needed him. Joe Pavelski, at the ripe-old age of 38, is averaging a goal per game. The Stars have lived up to their name without a lot of secondary scoring. Dallas might not be able to match the depth of the Vegas forwards, but they have matched the production. Oettinger hasn’t been great yet. A .903 save percentage isn’t anything to crow about, but he’s been benched twice during games and responded with strong performances in the next game. He’ll have to be better than good against Vegas for the Stars to have a chance to win their first Stanley Cup in 22 years.
DraftKings Sportsbook has Vegas at -135 favorite to win the series. Dallas is betting at +115.
Prediction: Golden Knights in 7