As the semifinal round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs continues, the third round gave us an unexpected result from Game 1. In this article, we have our NHL futures pick for this Tuesday, June 15th. Will the Tampa Bay Lightning even the series versus the New York Islanders Tuesday night?
Tampa Bay Lightning should defeat New York in Game 2 on Tuesday
Last year, the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders faced off in the same round (Stanley Cup Semifinal). Tampa Bay eliminated New York in six games behind their power play and goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy was the difference-maker in that series.
Game 1 saw a different story play out. Tampa Bay was uncharacteristically sloppy at even strength especially. Even Vasilevskiy’s rebound control was a bit of an issue. He stopped 29 of 31 shots but the first goal allowed set the tone. Also, New York was able to draw penalties against Tampa Bay while the Islanders were not penalized once during the first 40+ minutes of action.
Again, few will argue that they also have the superior players, with the Lightning led by Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamos, Brayden Point, and Victor Hedman for starters. Also, Tampa Bay’s middle-six and patience were able to wear down the Carolina Hurricanes. Even the top line has been a huge asset in these playoffs as one of the top power plays still left. Tampa Bay’s man-advantage is dangerous even when it does not score. They were just 2 for 14 against Carolina but were 6 for 22 versus Florida. The Lightning is not to be trifled with.
Ahead of Game 2, the NHL odds are out and they’re in favor of Tampa Bay. The Lightning has been listed between -165 and -190, while the New York Islanders are standing around +140 to +170. If you’re an Islanders fan, taking one game in Tampa Bay already seems like enough. Do not be surprised if even these numbers back off a bit. New York made it clear in Game 1 that they will not be pushed around.
Natural Stats Trick basically painted an illustration of Game 1 and how even it was. A deeper look showed that New York held its own at 5-on-5 especially. Scoring chances were slightly tilted toward Tampa Bay but far closer to 50-50 when it came to high-danger scoring chances (9-8 New York). Score effects took over in the third period and Tampa Bay did draw two power plays late. Also, that accounted for Tampa Bay’s only goal. Tampa scored at 6-on-4 with Vasilevskiy pulled. They drew no closer.
For NHL Picks, our best bet on Tuesday night features taking Tampa on the moneyline to even the series.
Tampa Bay in Game 1 forgot how close last year’s series was
In what has been a strange and different time during this whole pandemic, Tampa Bay should defeat New York in Game 2 on Tuesday night. After Game 1 last year, Tampa only outscored New York by a score of 12-10. The series opener was another tightly contested affair as New York continually frustrated the Tampa Bay Lightning. Shots ended up even at 31. However, most were of the low-quality variety.
The Lightning looked like passengers too often on Sunday afternoon. By the time, they woke up, the game was 2-0, New York, already. Give the New York Islanders plenty of credit. They slowed down Tampa Bay just enough and pushed them more to the perimeter. New York made them less assertive than normal. That cannot occur in Game 2.
Tampa Bay Depth…
The Las Vegas sportsbooks projected -190 odds for a Game 1, while New York would be the underdog at +165. From the beginning of the season, Tampa Bay was a favorite to compete for the NHL Stanley Cup title and repeat. Now, Vegas stands at the top. However, Tampa ranks a close second. This is because of depth.
Now, New York’s depth was more noticeable for the right reasons in Game 1. Tampa Bay’s depth made mistakes out of sheer rustiness. They did start to get better as the third period went on. Where were they for most of the first 40 minutes, however? Expect players like Barclay Goodrow, Ross Colton, and Blake Coleman to make even more of a presence on Tuesday night.
New York is averaging 3.46 goals per game in these playoffs with Tampa Bay scoring 3.25 per contest. The Lightning, however, can score from top to bottom and can be plugged into expanded roles as conditions warrant. Versatility will make the difference as the series goes on. Tampa faced tougher competition in Florida and Carolina.
Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup odds fall
Last round, Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup odds kept climbing, as they held +115 odds to be crowned the Stanley Cup champions. Tampa Bay was not expected to get past both Florida and Carolina the way they did. Simply, the return of Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos made Tampa a force. New York sent a stern message in the opener.
Now, Tampa prepares for a crucial Game 2 after dropping Game 1. First, Tampa Bay needs to take the lead and get the jump on the New York Islanders early. Tampa Bay must draw more penalties and their special teams need to execute. Combine that with their award-winning goaltender and there is a recipe for victory. Tampa now has some value around +225.
Tampa Bay is down in the series but still a favorite — especially for Game 2.
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