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In my last fade or follow, I went 1-1. Believing in the Lightning proved fruitful since they eliminated the Hurricanes, and believing in the Avalanche was a trap. Game Five went into overtime with the Golden Knights winning. Vegas took care of business in Game Six and sent Colorado home. Tonight there’s only one game, and the Lightning are looking to even up the series.
Islanders(+160) vs. Lightning (-190) 8:10 p.m. ET
The Islanders stole Game One in a 2-1 victory. The Lightning are looking to even up the series, and the public believes that they will as 78% of the bets are on Tampa Bay’s Moneyline.
The Lightning are a juggernaut at home. In their last 64 games, they are 45-19 in Tampa Bay. When the Islanders travel to Tampa, they have struggled, going 3-8 in Tampa Bay. These entire playoffs, the Lightning haven’t lost back-to-back games. They have stopped the bleeding every time. In the Panther series, the Lightning lost Game Three but then won Game Four 6-2. They lost Game Five but then won Game Six 4-0. In the Hurricanes series, they lost Game Three but then won Game Four 6-4. Tampa Bay doesn’t let their offensive struggles continue. When the Lightning score two or fewer goals in their previous game, they are 61-16 in their next game.
If you love Tampa Bay tonight and want to find a better value, their puck line is -1.5 at +150 odds. The public believes this will be a close game, since 67% of the bets are on the Islanders’ puck line. When the Lightning win, they win by a good margin. In five out of their seven wins, they have won by more than one goal. In the Islanders’ last thirteen losses against Tampa Bay, New York has lost by at least two goals in nine of them.
Neither of these teams won their division or were even a top-two seed. The Lightning finished with 75 points and were 3rd in the Central Division. The Islanders finished with 71 points and were 4th in the Eastern Division. For New York, they are led by Mathew Barzal, who played the entire season, and in these playoffs, has 11 points. After Game Two of the Penguins series, Coach Trotz called out his superstar, who hadn’t scored yet in the playoffs. Barzal responded with 3 points and since then has been awesome. For the Lightning, their superstar Nikita Kucherov didn’t play during the regular season but has come back into the playoffs red hot. During these playoffs, he has 18 points and has been far and away Tampa Bay’s best player.
In the regular season, these teams had similar stats, with Tampa Bay being the better offensive team and the Islanders being the better defensive team. The Lightning finished with a 0.53 SRS, 3.21 goals per game, allowed 2.59 goals a game, converted on 22.22% of their power plays, and was able to kill 84.15% of their power killing opportunities. For the Islanders, they finished with a 0.44 SRS, 2.71 goals per game, allowed 2.23 goals a game, were able to score on 18.75% of their power plays, and were able to stop 83.70% of their power killing opportunities.
These two teams are both very good, and I see this series going at least six games. For that to happen, the Lightning will need to win tonight. This is why I’m following the public with my Moneyline pick. The Lightning, after a loss, make a statement in their next game, and I believe this will happen again as I’m fading the public with my puck line bet.
The picks: Lightning -190 and Lightning -1.5 +150