Tampa Bay Lightning (47–20–5) at New York Islanders (42-23-8)
The Lighting attack exploded in Game 5 with an 8-0 blowout win over the Islanders and they can close out this series and reach the Stanley Cup finals with a win in the Big Apple in Game 6. This game can be seen on NBCSN.
No surprise the oddsmakers have the Lightning as the betting favorite in this game at -150 with the Islanders at +130 and a total of 5.5 goals.
Tampa Bay had only scored nine goals in the first four games of this series before scoring eight in Game 5. A good start bodes well for the team, as in the playoffs they are 11-1 when they score first while 0-4 when they do not.
The Islanders have their backs against the wall down 3-2 in this series and they have to forget about the embarrassing loss in the last game. Not only did they lose 8-0 but they allowed three goals on the six power play chances they gave to Tampa Bay.
After losing Game 1 of this series the Lighting have won three of the last four games where they have only allowed three goals.
Keep the Momentum
The Lightning look to keep the momentum going in this game after the massive blowout in the last one. In the Game 5 win Tampa scored only 45 seconds into the game and had a 3-0 lead after the first period. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each scored two goals in the game where the Lightning doubled up the Islanders on shots (42-21).
Andrei Vasilevskiy (31-10-1 2.21 GAA regular season) stopped all 21 shots he faced and picked up the fourth playoff shutout of his career. In the post-season he has a GAA of 2.05.
Braden Point has been red hot and leads the playoffs with 13 goals. In the last game he scored on the power play and became only the second player ever to score a goal in eight straight playoff games.
Nikita Kucherov leads all players in the playoffs with 27 points, Point is second with 18, had three assists in the 8-0 blowout win, and has nine assists in this series.
Tampa Bay has won four of their last five road games.
Get Over It
The Islanders have to get over the bad loss in Game 5 and get back to playing good D, which they, obviously, did not do in the last game.
Semyon Varlamov (19-11-4 2.04 GAA regular season was yanked in the first period after giving up three goals on only 16 shots. Ilya Sorokin (13-6-3 2.17 GAA regular season) did not fare much better giving up five goals on 26 shots. Varlamov has started every game in this series but a starter has not been named for Game 6.
Mathew Barzal has scored three goals in the last five games and he may have to watch his back in this game, as in the last one he was tossed after a wicked cross-check to the face of a Tampa Bay player.
Brock Nelson leads the team in the playoffs with seven goals but has none in the last three games.
It is pretty simple for New York, as they have to get it done on D and find some offense if they are going to force a Game 7.
The Lightning were all business in 8-0 blowout win, as they failed to celebrate the last couple of goals knowing they have more work to do. The Islanders will come back and play better defense in this game but it will not matter. Tampa Bay will have another solid offensive performance and play good D as well and they will win and close out the series.
PICK: Lightning -150