Lightning vs. Avalanche (June 15)

Lightning vs Avalanche Game 1 Odds

Lightning odds +125
Avalanche chances -155
Above under 6 (-120 / +100)
time 8 p.m. Eastern time
Television ESPN
Chances are via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The first game that has become one of the most anticipated Stanley Cup finals in modern history will kick off Wednesday night at the Ball Arena, where the Colorado Avalanche will host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tampa Bay would enter this series with the opportunity to do something that seemed almost impossible in the era of salary caps and end the first three league losses since the Islanders dynasty in the early 1980s. Lightning would be in for a bit of a fight, though, as it was clear that Colorado’s nearly-perfect lineup was the most dominant team in hockey.

What can we expect from the first game of this intense match?

Lightning is weak to three peats

Tampa Bay’s run to the 2022 Cup Final has realistically been the most impressive to date, taking down three really strong clubs in the Leafs, Panthers and Rangers.

Lightning has mostly done it without one of the league’s best two-pointers and a massive chunk of their last two title victories at Brayden Point, although it looks very likely that he will be back early in the series. What kind of difference Point will be able to make at less than 100% remains to be seen, but his return has the potential to provide a massive boost to the screws.

Tampa watched firsthand early in the Rangers series that too much time away from the game’s action has the potential to cause some rust. The Bolts hope to start the narrative early in the series.

Coach John Cooper commented after Lightning ended Rangers that the extra rest his team received after finishing the Panthers in four games may have played a big part in his club’s sharpest play at the end of the series.

Tampa Bay has dominated play at 55.46 xGF% throughout 17 games this post season. On top of that, he clearly has a solid understanding of the intricacies it takes to win hockey games.

Lightning is very convenient in the defensive zone. As we’ve seen against Florida, they’re strong at keeping bodies behind the puck and are looking to avoid the kind of meltdowns that lead to scoring opportunities that Andrei Vasilevsky isn’t supposed to stop.

This is an important note entering this series. It is reasonable to expect Colorado to control a larger share of the overall play with its fast paced style and a plethora of elite talent.

Vasilevskiy played to a rating of +12.7 GSAx with a save ratio of 0.928 so far this postseason. It’s the main argument why Tampa Bay can pull off a 3-peat win over an amazing team from avalanche.

Avs face their toughest post-season test

Even without two elite pieces in the lineup being Nazem Kadri and Samuel Gerrard, Colorado still has one of the deepest rosters we’ve seen in recent history enter this competition.

Avalanche has a ridiculous 12-2 post-season record, playing a predicted 60.67 goal average.

Avalanche will likely rely less on goalkeepers en route to this final than we’ve seen from any team in recent history, which can certainly be seen as a professional and a crook going into a streak with Lightning.

Darcy Kuemper struggled through two qualifying injuries and delivered completely shaky results, playing with -4.4 GSAx with 897 saves in 10 games.

Given that he’s been avalanche number one all season, he will likely go on to start Pavel Francoz in Game 1, although Francoz has arguably put in better play this season.

There is no doubt that the Lightning is the best team that Avalanche has played this season. I think it’s reasonable to expect Colorado, led by Cal McCarn and Nathan McKinnon, to once again carry more of the overall play.

However, penetrating with goals that look as you like should be more difficult than what we’ve seen in previous rounds versus defensive and more flexible teams.

At some point, it’s likely that Kuemper/Francouz will need to come up with some timely warning. This may be the biggest question mark surrounding the avalanche entering this chain.

There is a huge argument for why Colorado has been so successful in the series, what has been probably the best defensive duo in the league this season is the tandem of McCar and Devon Toes. McCar and Toys played at 59.5% xGF in the post-season and were two greats in the Oilers series playing against Connor McDavid’s unit.

When possible, Avs coach Jared Bednar will want to match this pairing line to the Greater Lightning attack unit at Kucherov-Stamkos-Palat. Making the last change at home for games 1 and 2 might be helpful in this regard.

Lightning vs avalanche

There are enough question marks surrounding this game that I don’t see any value in jumping on avalanche as a heavy favorite, so I’m leaning toward Lightning as an aspect of Game 1 given the price.

Looking at the sum, I see the greatest value.

We know if Tampa Bay is playing right, it could be very difficult for even an avalanche to break through with a massive Vasilevskiy aggregate.

Colorado has been great defensively all season. If Kuemper can provide a reasonable start, we should have a good chance of seeing a competition with fewer goals in the first game. Colorado has played some remarkably high goalscoring hockey in the post-season, but competing with the Lightning compared to the Blues or the Oilers could certainly change that dramatically.

With the total opening at 6 and close to increasing the money at the bottom, I see enough to do the job. I would like to play this to -115.

picking Below 6 (-105, play until -115)

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