Colorado Avalanche vs Tampa Bay Lightning (6/22/22) Betting Odds, Prediction, Line Combination, Starting Goalies
After two pathetic showings, the Tampa Bay Lightning reminded everyone why they are the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions.
Tampa Bay showed up at home and blew the doors off the Colorado Avalanche. The Lightning simply win playoff games at home, and this was a much-needed win on the sport’s biggest stage.
However, does that mean the Lightning are destined to win Game 4 at home?
Let’s dive into the betting odds and my prediction for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Colorado Avalanche vs Tampa Bay Lightning Betting Odds
The line has opened the exact same as it did in Game 3, at -110 on both sides.
Personally, I believe Tampa Bay has too big a home-ice advantage to ignore. Andrei Vasilevskiy is clearly a different animal in Florida, especially after his underwhelming showings in Mile High.
The total has opened at 5.5 again, and that seems low considering the first three games of this Stanley Cup final have gone over.
Colorado Avalanche Analysis
The Avalanche did what they always do, which is pour shots on opposing goalies until they break.
In fact, Colorado out-shot Tampa 39-to-32 in Game 3. In terms of expected goals, the Avalanche dominated, winning 6.68-to-4.33 and specifically playing better down the stretch.
Image credit: Money Puck
But Colorado lost in a couple of key areas.
First, the Lightning dominated physically and in the face-off circle. The Lightning recorded 40 hits to the Avalanche’s 27, and the Lightning won 43 faceoffs to the Avalanche’s 31. For a Colorado team that thrives on disarray and possession, they got out-played in those two areas of the game.
Secondly, Darcy Kuemper recorded -1.96 Goals Saved Above Expected. He was finally pulled after his fifth goal allowed in Game 3, but Kuemper might not be the answer in goal for the Avalanche. Pavel Francouz has impressed me much more during this playoff run than Kuemper, but I am not the coach of the Avalanche.
Tampa Bay Lightning Analysis
In the meanwhile, Andrei Vasilevskiy finally woke up.
Vasi took 39 shots and saved all but two. His 4.68 Goals Saved Above Expected were by far his highest single-game mark of the postseason, and it came at the most opportune time.
Vasilevskiy is arguably the best goalie we’ve ever seen, and he has been the anchor of Tampa’s recent playoff runs. But with how Colorado continues to overwhelm opposing defenses, Vasi needs to stand on his head for Tampa to have a shot at a third straight Stanley Cup victory.
The Lightning offense woke up in Game 3, but maybe they finally just took advantage of an underwhelming Colorado goalie. They still lost the 5-on-5 Expected Goals battle.
If you’re a Tampa backer, you need the Power Play and Penalty Kill unit to wake up. The Lightning converted one of six Power Play chances on Monday night while allowing two goals on four Penalty Kill opportunities.
Considering the Lightning are not the world’s greatest 5-on-5 team, holding your own in these situations is key. Tampa may have gotten a little lucky, but keep your eye on this moving forward.
Colorado Avalanche vs Tampa Bay Lightning Picks & Prediction
My pick: Tampa Bay Lightning ML (-105 at BetMGM Sportsbook)
It’s just so hard to beat Tampa on their own ice.
I fully expect Vasilevskiy to pitch another gem in Game 4, and the Tampa front lines should sneak around a questionable goaltending duo.
I am worried that the Colorado defensive front will wake up and not allow the Lightning front line the chances they were given in Game 3. However, Tampa may force just enough chances if their Hall of Fame goaltender shows up as I expect him to.
My prediction for this series is Colorado in six games. But I believe Tampa steals two in a row on their home ice first because this Lightning team is tough and will not go down without a fight.
At anything better than -110, I’ll be on the Lightning to win Game 4 and even up the series.