Tampa Bay Lightning Vs. Florida Panthers (5/17/22) Betting Odds, Prediction, Line Combination, Starting Goalies

The Lightning defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games to win their ninth consecutive playoff series.  Tampa Bay has won the last two Stanley Cups and is currently +650 to win their third consecutive title; the last team to do so was the New York Islanders who won four straight Stanley Cups; 1979-80 through 1982-83. 

This season the Florida Panthers won the Presidents’ Trophy with a record of 58-18-6 with 122 points.  The number one seed in the Eastern Conference, Florida knocked out the Washington Capitals in six games to open the 2021-22 playoffs.  The series win was Florida’s first since 1995-96 when they beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals.  The Panthers are the favorite to win the Eastern Conference at +165 and only behind the Colorado Avalanche at +380 to win the 2021-22 Stanley Cup. 

Tampa Bay Lightning Vs. Florida Panthers Betting Odds

Tampa Bay is +130 to beat their in-state rival, Florida Panthers in the second round.  The Lightning are 24-5 in their last 29 Conference Semifinals games.  Under is 5-2 in Tampa Bay’s last seven playoff games as an underdog.  Over is 5-2 in the Lightning’s last seven road games.  The favorite is 35-17 in the last 52 meetings between Tampa Bay and Florida.  The Panthers are -150 to end the Lightning’s reign as NHL champions in round two.  Florida is 4-1 in their last five playoff games as a favorite.  Under is 4-0 in the Panthers last four Tuesday games.  Over is 35-12-6 in Florida’s last 53 games following a win.

Tampa Bay Lightning Analysis

Nikita Kucherov played in 47 games this season after missing the beginning of the season due to injury and was the club’s third leading scorer with 69 points (25 goals and 44 assists).  The 2018-19 Hart Trophy winner was Tampa Bay’s leading scorer in the first round of the playoffs with eight points (two goals and six assists).  Kucherov is +2200 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP this season.  Ross Colton and Ondrej Palat are tied for third on the club in postseason points this season with five.  Nick Paul scored both of Tampa Bay’s goals in the decisive seventh game against Toronto in round one.  Overall, he had four points in the first round series vs. the Maple Leafs.  Steven Stamkos led the team in goals with 42 and points with 106 points during the regular season.  The center had 16 power play goals and an incredible 11 game winning goals in 2021-22.  The two-time Stanley Cup champion had four points in the opening round of this season’s playoffs (two goals and two assists).

Victor Hedman was the second leading scorer for Tampa Bay in 2021-22 with 85 points (20 goals and 65 assists).  The 2017-18 Norris Trophy winner was the Lightning second leading in the first round series vs. the Maple Leafs with seven points (two goals and five assists).  Additionally, Hedman averaged 25:42 of ice time in the first round.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, the 2018-19 Vezina Trophy winner was 39-18-5 this season (tied for first in wins) in 63 games.  Tampa Bay’s number 88 had a .916 save percentage and a 2.49 GAA in 2021-22.  In Game Seven against Toronto, he made 30 saves in the victory.  In the first round he had a .897 save percentage and a 3.04 GAA.  The 2020-21 Conn Smythe Trophy winner is +1600 to repeat as Conn Smythe Trophy winner.

Florida Panthers Analysis

Carter Verhaeghe was unbelievable in the opening round against Washington, becoming the 12th player in NHL history to score the game-winning goal in three straight playoff games per NHL.com.  Overall, he had 12 points (six goals and six assists) in the first round; second in the league in postseason scoring.   Former Philadelphia Flyers captain, Claude Giroux acquired at the trade deadline by Florida had seven points against Washington, including a goal and two assists in the final contest of the series.  Alexander Barkov, the Panthers captain, tallied six points (two goals and four assists) against Washington in the six-game series.  He’s +1500 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.  Sam Reinhart scored two goals in the opening round vs. Washington after scoring 33 goals in the regular season.  Jonathan Huberdeau the first Florida Panther to score 100 points in a single season, finished tied for second in the league in scoring with 115 points; leading the NHL in assists with 85.   Against Washington in the first round, he had three points (one goal and two assists) in six games. 

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad played in 61 games during regular season registering 57 points (15 goals and 42 assists).  A dangerous threat from the blueline, Ekblad had five points (one goal and four assists) in the first round series win vs. the Capitals. 

In 2021-22, Sergei Bobrovsky had a record of 39-7-3 (tied for the league lead in wins with Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy) with a .913 save percentage and a GAA of 2.67.  In the opening series against Washington, he had a .906 save percentage (163 saves on 180 shot attempts) and a 2.79 GAA.  The Panthers goaltender is +3000 to win the Conn Smythe Award this year.

Tampa Bay Lightning Vs. Florida Panthers Picks & Prediction

During the regular season, Tampa Bay scored 3.5 goals per game, ranking them eighth in the NHL.  In the first round of the playoffs, they scored 23 goals: 3.26 goals per game.  They allowed 24 goals to Toronto in opening round of the postseason: 3.43 goals per contest.  The Lightning are 11-3 in their last 14 playoff games as an underdog.  During the regular season, the Panthers scored 4.1 goals per game, first in the NHL. They scored 20 goals in the six-game series against the Capitals.  Defensively Florida allowed three goals per game, ranked 13th overall.  In the playoffs they’ve allowed 19 goals: 3.17 goals per game.  The Panthers are 46-8 in their last 54 games as a home favorite.

I’m going with the home team, Florida Panthers to win Game One of the series 4-2; covering the 1.5 goal spread, but the clubs will combine for under 6.5 goals.  Jonathan Huberdeau and Steven Stamkos both scored over 100 points for the Panthers and Lightning respectively this season and I’d expect each of these players will have an impact on the series.

Tampa Bay Lightning Vs. Florida Panthers Starting Goalies & Line Combination

Scott is graduate of Hofstra University and has worked in the sports media for over 20 years as a Producer and Writer. His dream is to see the New York Jets one day hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. He lives outside of Chicago with his wife and two children.

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