NHL playoffs 2018: Winnipeg Jets vs. Vegas Golden Knights scores, schedule, TV channel, odds

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A Western Conference final between the Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights is not something a lot of people anticipated, but here we are. After the Jets took Game 1 in pretty emphatic fashion, the Golden Knights bounced back to take FOUR straight. The Knights -- an expansion team in their very first season -- now head to the Stanley Cup Final to face the Capitals or Lightning.

How to watch

TV: NBC, NBCS
Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App

(All times Eastern)

NHL playoffs odds

Here's a look at each team's projected odds to advance via SportsLine, not to mention their odds to win not only their conference, but also the Stanley Cup.    

Matchup breakdown

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There should be plenty of battles near the net in the Jets-Golden Knights Western Conference Finals. USATSI

Offense

Here's everything you need to know: The Jets didn't get a crazy amount of production from Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers against the Predators in the second round, and yet Winnipeg still dropped 22 total goals -- including five games of at least four goals -- on Pekka Rinne and a Nashville team known for its stingy defense. Their offense is for real, and that's in large part due to the help that Scheifele and deadline pickup Paul Stastny provide at center. Vegas is balanced, that's for sure, and Jonathan Marchessault or William Karlsson are prone to break off big games, but the depth and talent is skewed pretty clearly in the Jets' favor.

Edge: Jets

Defense

It's not insane to consider the Golden Knights here, because, like their offensive output, their blue line is fueled largely by shared production, not a single or even a pair of defensemen running the show. And only twice in Vegas' 10 postseason games has the opponent even scored more than three goals. But a lot of that credit belongs in the next section. The Jets simply have more impact potential in this area, what with Dustin Byfuglien chipping in on offense -- when he's not frustrating opponents -- and guys like Jacob Trouba stepping up under the bright lights.

Edge: Jets

Goaltending

Connor Hellebuyck is among the game's top young goalies, and while the Vezina Trophy candidate's numbers aren't quite as pretty in some areas as, say, those of the now-dispatched Pekka Rinne, he's never allowed major slip-ups to throw him completely off the rails during the postseason, and that means he's a safe bet even if Vegas finds a way to pour it on early in the series. Fleury has also had some sour playoff memories from his time with the Penguins. But like Rinne, he's got the obvious edge in experience, and he's also playing maybe the best hockey of his esteemed career with four playoff shutouts -- and he's doing it on plenty of rest.

Edge: Golden Knights

Special teams

This one could swing either way, and because of that, it might be the X-factor in a series against two very different teams. Winnipeg is good enough in both capitalizing on extra-man advantages and spoiling them for the other side, whereas Vegas could stand to improve on power plays but dominates the NHL in killing penalties. For the purpose of this matchup, the Golden Knights will probably benefit the most from thwarting Jets power plays -- if they plan to win the series by playing their game and stealing a couple low-scoring affairs. Winnipeg has a lot of firepower to deal with, though, so this is closer than you think.

Edge: Golden Knights

Predictions

Golden Knights vs. Jets


Skiver: These are two teams I heavily underestimated -- or rather -- I heavily overestimated experience. Both of these teams have crazy goal scorers, decent defense and good goalies. Ultimately, I think the Jets' edge on defense, as marginal as it is, gives them a win. Jets in 7.

Benjamin: Just like Tampa Bay makes quite a bit more sense than the Capitals in the East, where Washington is still fighting the shadow of its own history, the Jets seem a whole lot more dangerous on paper, and in reality, they've been a Cup sleeper-in-the-making for a while. But just like I picked the Caps to keep up their magic, I can't back away from Vegas now. The Knights may be down in star power, but they've got Flower Power in the net, and their teamwork has been too remarkable a story to end now. Golden Knights in 7.

Blackburn: I've been doubting Vegas this entire season and they haven't stopped making me look foolish, but I'm already in too deep to reverse course. The Jets are as dangerous and well-rounded as any team in the league, and I think their front six has enough firepower to finally bring down the wall that has been Marc-Andre Fleury. Winnipeg will finally be the team to bring Vegas' inaugural season to an end. Jets in 5.

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