Lightning vs avalanche odds
|Chances of Lightning||+146|
|More less||6 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get the latest NHL odds here.|
Nazem Kadri’s magnificent overtime winner in Game 4 has his Avalanche poised to finally hoist the Stanley Cup, and Colorado will enter as heavy favorites on Friday to cap off their magical run at home.
After Game 4 ends as a pick ’em, does it seem fair that Colorado be rated a huge favorite at -185?
Lightning out of gas?
What the two-time defending champion Lightning has done over the past two seasons has been nothing short of spectacular – and the resilience this group has shown to even step into that position has been nothing short of spectacular.
In each of the past two cup races, Brayden Point has been among the Lightning’s best skaters, and getting through two very tough opponents without him is hugely impressive. I think this potential series loss is far from a tough team for the Lightning in the Cup Finals.
Tampa Bay has struggled with a plethora of injuries this postseason. Now, it looks like Jon Cooper’s group is finally running out of gas as they encounter a hugely talented and well-rested Avalanche team.
Erik Cernak has quietly proven himself to be one of hockey’s toughest players over the past few seasons, but the quietly stellar defender was clearly given a rough ride before leaving Game 4.
It is very likely that we will see him and maybe even Point skate in this contest. However, it’s hard to imagine that either will be able to play anywhere near best form.
Tampa Bay was outplayed in the first two games of the series at Colorado, managing an expected 33.85% field goal rate. Even if some of the Lightning players are putting in surprisingly strong performances tonight, it will likely take a worldwide performance from Andrei Vasilevskiy to force a Game 6.
It’s entirely possible, as Vasilevskiy was once again terrific in the playoffs, playing with +13.7 goals recorded over the expected score with a save percentage of 0.920%.
Colorado enjoys playoff dominance
Colorado enters this contest with a 15-3 playoff record. A victory tonight to cap the run would have allowed the Avalanche to lift the Cup after suffering the fewest losses in the salary cap era.
Although the Avalanche already have the best roster in hockey, that advantage is compounded by the fact that Colorado hasn’t had to endure as many playoff outings.
Tampa Bay’s Cooper said earlier this postseason that he thought his group playing fewer games than the Rangers made a difference going into the back half of this series. Now, it looks like the narrative is working against its group in this finale.
Kadri was the Avalanche’s most notable absence earlier in the series, and it was hard to say what kind of difference he would make if he returned to the lineup in Game 4.
Still, Kadri built on what was an incredible playoff run with his seventh game-winning goal of the race. Colorado clearly holds a much bigger advantage with him back in the lineup.
Darcy Kuemper has probably been asked to do less than any goalkeeper in recent history en route to this Cup, as evidenced by his 0.898% save percentage. This mark could be the worst by a Cup winner in more than 25 seasons.
Kuemper has now played with a GSAx of -3.9 in the playoffs, but was very solid in Game 4. If he can just stop the shots he’s supposed to take, he could lift the Cup on Friday night.
Lightning vs. Avalanche Pick
As difficult as closing back-to-back champions is, I think Colorado is going to come out and control the flow of play in this contest.
Colorado’s dominance throughout this postseason seems to be paying off in this series, as I think the Avalanche are far less withered than the Lightning. On top of that, Tampa has played major splits at home and on the road this postseason, and the Avs have completely outplayed the Lightning in Denver in Games 1 and 2.
It’s much easier to come up with arguments as to why the Avalanche will come out and dominate tonight than why a badly beaten Lightning team can pull off a win in Colorado after being crushed there in the first two games of the series.
I think we have strong value for the Avalanche to win in regulation at -105 and play that down to -115.
Take: Avalanche Victory in Regulation (-105)
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