Tampa Bay Lightning (45–19–5) at New York Islanders (41-21-8)
The Lighting found their attack in their last game beating the Islanders 4-2 to tie this series at 1-1. This NHL semifinals series game can be seen on NBCSN.
The oddsmakers have the Lighting as the road favorite in this game at -140 with the Islanders posted at +120 and the total sitting at 5.5 goals.
The Lighting had only scored three goals in two games, including only one in losing the first game of this series, before scoring four in the last game to tie the series. The team has won five of their last six road games and in their last three road games they have only allowed two goals.
The Islanders are led by a defense that ranked second in the league this season in opponents’ goals per game but that D was not sharp in the Game 2 loss.
New York has won six of their last eight games as a home underdog.
Tampa Bay has won eight of their last 11 games facing the Islanders in the Big Apple but have not faced them there since the 2019 season.
Big Push After the Opening Frame
In the 4-2 win over the Islanders in Game 2 after New York tied the game at 1-1 in the first period the Lightning scored three unanswered goals. Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat, Jan Rutta, and Victor Hedman all lit the lamp in the win where Tampa Bay outshot New York 33-26.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (31-10-1 2.21 GAA regular season) turned away 24 of 26 shots and he has given up two goals in each of his last two starts. His GAA in the playoffs (2.21) is the same as the regular season and in his last two road starts he only gave up one goal.
Point leads all players in the post-season with 10 goals and he has scored one goal in each of the last five games. Nikita Kucherov leads all players with 22 points and he had three assists in the Game 2 win.
The Lightning has won 20 of their last 28 playoff games as the betting favorite.
Two Does Not Cut It This Time
The Islanders lost Game 2 of this series scoring two goals while they also scored two goals in Game 1 but got the 2-1 win. Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal each scored in the losing effort.
Semyon Varlamov (19-11-4 2.04 GAA regular season) gave up four goals on 23 shots and left the game for a while after getting hit by a player in the crease but came back in the game and then gave up three goals. He had only given up three goals in his previous two starts.
Ilya Sorokin (13-6-3 2.17 regular season spelled Varlamov in the last game stopping all six shots he faced and he has not started in the playoffs since May 29th.
Nelson leads New York in the playoffs with seven goals and he has scored four of them over his last four games.
The Islanders are not a high scoring team but they rank second in the playoffs averaging 3.36 goals per game. Still, the defense is their strength and they have to get back to playing well on that side of the ice in Game 3.
The favorite has won four of the last five games between these teams and I look for that trend to continue. The Tampa Bay attack had been kept in check in two straight games before the last game where they scored four goals. I see their attack playing well in this game and in the Big Apple the Islanders will put up a fight and play better than in Game 2. However, the result will be the same, as the Lightning will ride their offense to a win and take a 2-1 series lead.
PICK: Lightning -140