NHL Stanley Cup Game 3
Avalanche @ Lightning (-110)
Total: 6 o/u
When looking at the final score in Game 2, one may have thought they were reading the box score of the Tampa Bay Rays vs. Colorado Rockies matchup rather than the Lightning and Avalanche. After going up 1-0 in the series, Colorado came out in full force, drilling 3 1st period goals, before eventually winning 7-0. That was enough to cover the total alone. Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar each contributed 2 goals apiece, while Darcy Kuemper collected 16 saves en route to an all-time drubbing in the Stanley Cup.
On the Tampa Bay side, it was one of the worst games of his career for Andrei Vasilevskiy, as he allowed 7 goals despite recording 23 saves. Now, to keep their hopes of three-peating alive, Steve Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Nikita Kucherov must find a way to keep up with the Avalanche scoring as they return home for the next two games. Luckily for the Lightning, they have only lost 1 game at home this postseason – all the way back in Round 1 versus the Maple Leafs. Since then, they have been unstoppable at home and will have to keep up their play on home ice to even the series.
To say this is a must-win for the Lightning is an understatement. The Avalanche have blown past their competition this entire postseason, sweeping the Oilers most recently in the Western Conference Finals. In fact, the Avalanche are 5-1 straight up in their last 6 matchups against the Avalanche and 5-0 in their previous 5 games on the road. (Trends courtesy of Oddsshark). However, I’m backing the Lightning in this matchup. Vasilevskiy is due to bounce back and have a solid outing, and you can bet Stamkos and co. will step up tonight in front of the home crowd.
When looking at the total, the over has hit in the first 2 games of the series. It currently sits at 6 for tonight’s matchup. There has been no shortage of goals scored this series, at least on the Avalanche side, but I’m leaning towards the under tonight. As mentioned above, Vasilevskiy should do a better job protecting the net. Expect tonight’s game to be tight and low-scoring, especially coming off a travel day. It is also worth noting that the under has hit in the Lightning’s previous 5 games at home.
Tampa Bay went down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals and bounced back to win the next 4 against the Rangers. Though the Avalanche are a wholly different and far superior opponent, I like the Lightning tonight to cut the series lead in half.
Tampa Bay and the under is our play.