Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche (6/17/22) Betting Odds, Prediction, Line Combination, Starting Goalies
The Tampa Bay Lightning are so tough. They hang around in periods, games, and playoff series.
Last night, the Colorado Avalanche poured it on. They went up 2-0, then 3-1, playing lightning-quick north-south offense and pouring pucks into the slot. The Avalanche were pummelling their opposition, even making the almighty Andrei Vasilevskiy look human.
But, Tampa did what the Lightning do. They managed two unanswered second-period goals and Vasilevskiy played 40 minutes of shutout hockey to force overtime.
The Avalanche pulled it off in overtime, but we must realize how tough and good this Lightning squad is. This is much closer to a coin-flip series than the current market indicates.
But, where does the value lie in Game 2? Can the Lightning steal back home ice at Mile High?
Let’s dive into the betting odds and my prediction for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche Betting Odds
This line is fair, and perhaps underpricing the Avalanche just a bit.
The Avalanche have snuck up to a ridiculous -285 on the series ML, while the Lightning are up to +230. I don’t believe this series price accurately reflects the Lightning’s chances in this series. It might be worth buying Tampa now or – if you expect it to lose Game 2 – after Friday’s contest.
The over hit in Game 1, and it’s hard not to bet the over with the way Colorado plays hockey. However, it’s worth mentioning these two teams are a combined 8-2 to the under in the respective team’s last 10 games.
Tampa Bay Lightning Analysis
A lot of the total will depend on Vasilevskiy bouncing back. For the first 20 minutes of Game 1, he looked puzzled by Colorado’s fast-paced attack.
He managed to step his game up, but Vasi still posted a -0.52 Goals Saved Above Expected mark for the game while giving up the overtime winner.
The Lightning are tough, and the team will get better throughout the series. But their biggest advantage in this series is the goaltending. Vasilevskiy is so much better than Colorado’s goaltending duo that it might be the reason Tampa wins this series.
But if Vasi puts up performance after performance like that, the Lightning don’t stand a chance.
Tampa did manage to win the faceoff battle 36-to-24, which is so important against a possession-heavy team like Colorado. But Colorado also had 17 takeaways while Tampa had just four, which rendered the faceoffs moot.
The Lightning will continue to hang around, and this is going to be a very close series. But there are very few areas where Tampa has the advantage over the stacked Avalanche, and the Lightning need to make the most of each one.
Colorado Avalanche Analysis
Vasilevskiy had a pretty mediocre night in Game 1, especially by his standards. But the Lightning still had the goaltending advantage over Darcy Kuemper.
Kemper is the only reason the Lightning are in this game. He posted a -0.75 Goals Saved Above Expected mark, and his actual save percentage (67.6%) on unblocked shots finished six percent blow his expected save percentage on unblocked shots (73.5%).
But Colorado wins in spite of their goaltending situation. The Avalanche gets the puck into the zone and pours shots on your goalie. They finished the game with 15 more shots than the Lightning and won decisively in the Expected Goals category.
Image credit: Money Puck
The Avalanche will always out-shoot their opponents, but that’s not the only reason they win. They’re generally a very impressive defensive team, protecting Kuemper and Pavel Francouz through disruption of the other team’s offense. Their 17 takeaways speak to that.
It’s also nice that the Avalanche have been the most efficient Power Play offense in the NHL this postseason, with a 97.6% Expected Goal rate. Meanwhile, the Lightning are only 11th in that stat.
Colorado buried one in three Power Play opportunities in Game 1. The Lightning went 0-for-3 in extra-man scenarios. That was the difference.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche Picks & Prediction
My pick: Colorado Avalanche ML (-150 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
At anything less than -150, I’ll be betting Colorado in this spot.
It’ll take a Herculean performance from Vasilevskiy for the Lightning to compete at this point, and I’m not sure he has it in him. The Avalanche are going to get another 50 shots on goal in this one. And then they’ll do it again in Game 3. And again in Game 4.
So on and so forth.
For how tough the Lightning are, they’ll have to wait until they’re back in Tampa to steal a game off Colorado. I expect this series to go at least six, but Vasi and co. will have to dig themselves out of a hole.