For a brief moment, there was a real fear that the NHL’s conference finals would leave us hanging for a while without hockey. The Florida Panthers took care of business in shocking fashion and swept the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Final, and the Vegas Golden Knights looked primed to do the same to their Western Conference opponent and kept hope alive.
Heading into the weekend, let’s look at what’s still on the table in that series, and also take a quick glance at what some Canadian players are doing at the World Hockey Championships!
Saturday 8:00 p.m ET HNIC Headliner: Stars vs. Golden Knights
At first, Thursday’s game looked like it would be a mercy kill for Dallas’ season, but the Stars’, well, stars, had other plans. While William Karlsson gave Vegas the lead in the opening minutes of the first, a high sticking penalty to Brayden McNabb quickly turned into a Jason Robertson equalizer. When Jonathan Marchessault took the lead back by continuing his red-hot scoring tear, Robertson responded once again before the close of the second period. After a scoresheet-quiet third period, the game headed to overtime, where McNabb’s errant stick hurt Vegas once again, conceding a power play to the Stars that veteran Joe Pavelski turned into a dagger, blasting a one-timer home off of a Miro Heiskanen pass.
This was the third overtime game in this series, which should give a bit of hope to Stars fans. Yes, two of the three haven’t gone their way, but it speaks to how close the series has been. Sure, they likely can’t rely on McNabb giving them life preservers multiple times in a game again, but they should be happy with Robertson having finding his touch and Jake Oettinger having a massive bounce-back performance in goal. Combine that with Heiskanen’s two assists, and the 2017 draft class was buzzing, perhaps saving their season.
So as we all know, coming all the way back from 3-0 in a series is very difficult. Yes, it’s possible, and the terms of what you need change with every victory – essentially, win the next one four times over. But it’s extremely rare to see in professional sports. Nevertheless, the Stars are going to give it a shot. Should they keep winning, the rest of the path is as follows:
Game 6: Vegas vs. Dallas, 8:00 p.m. ET, Monday, May 29
Game 7: Dallas vs. Vegas, 9:00 p.m ET, Wednesday, May 31
When does the Stanley Cup Final start?
The NHL announced two different scenarios for the Stanley Cup Final schedule on Thursday, contingent on what happens on Saturday night.
Should the Golden Knights close things off at home, the Stanley Cup Final will start between them and the Panthers on Wednesday night (May 31), with an 8 p.m. ET start in tow. They’ll then play on June 3, 5, and 8, with games on June 10, 13, and 16, if necessary.
If Dallas wins Game 5, however, the series between Florida and the winner of the series, regardless of which team it might be, will begin next Saturday, June 3. Games on June 5, 8, and 10 will be guaranteed, June 13 and 16 will remain “if necessary” days, and a potential winner-take-all Game 7 will come on June 19.
In both scenarios, the Western Conference team will have home ice advantage due to Florida’s underdog seeding status. All games will be played at 8:00 p.m. ET, and broadcast in Canada on CBC and Sportsnet in English, and TVA Sports in French. For Americans, TNT will lead the way, with TBS also broadcasting most of the games and truTV providing a third option.
Around The World
Across the Atlantic Ocean, fans of Canadian NHL teams are able to see some of their current and future players play some bonus hockey in the form of the 2023 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship. The annual event is approaching it’s final days, with the semifinals happening in Helsinki tomorrow, and the Gold and Bronze medal games on Sunday.
In the first of the two semi-final games, Canada takes on Latvia. The Canadian team features the likes of Milan Lucic (Calgary), Justin Barron (Montreal), Samuel Montembeault (Montreal), MacKenzie Weegar (Calgary), Tyler Myers (Vancouver), Tyler Toffoli (Calgary), and Ethan Bear (Vancouver), with projected second overall pick Adam Fantilli also drawing interest. Over on team Latvia, Calgary Flames minor league defenceman Kristians Rubins bolsters their blue line, but the main story has been Arturs Silovs. The Vancouver Canucks goaltending prospect has dragged Latvia to one of their best top-level performances ever, posting a .926 save percentage on top of a 6-2-0 record.
In the second matchup, Jets prospect Leon Gawanke is Germany’s lone Canadian team member, while the United States have Dylan Samberg (Winnipeg), Lane Hutson (Montreal prospect), Sean Farrell (Montreal), Patrick Brown (Ottawa), Tyler Kelven (Ottawa), and Conor Garland (Vancouver).
The safe money is on a Canada/USA final where Canada comes out ahead, but upsets would be fun, right? The odds to win the gold medal can be found below, courtesy of bet365.
Where to Watch HNIC Games
Want to tune into these games? Of course you do, that’s why you’re here. Worry not, we’re here to help!
As always, the headliner games will be best watched by Canadians on the CBC. Canada’s public broadcaster flexes its muscles by offering free hockey to all on Saturday night, in whatever way you wish to watch it – on their website, through their app, on your cable box, or even through the old school antenna. To learn more about about your viewing options, check out CSB’s “How to watch the NHL in Canada” guide!
For those wanting to watch the World Hockey Championship, your best bet would be through TSN, be it on your TV or through their own streaming service.
Saturday Night NHL Lines
Lots of action is available on all of these games come the weekend. Our friends at bet365 already have the main lines up – check them out below! You’ll also find all sorts of spreads and props available when you click through.
|Home Team||bet365||bet365||Away Team|
|Vegas Golden Knights||-135||+115||Dallas Stars|
|Canada (IIHF)||-450||+350||Latvia (IIHF)|
|United States (IIHF)||-270||+220||Germany (IIHF)|
If you’re looking for another book to bet at, we’ve also got you covered – check out our Best NHL Betting Sites guide for more info!