Stanley Cup Final Game 2: Lightning vs. Avalanche Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds through BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Colorado Avalanche host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final following Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime victory. Tampa Bay will look to even up the series before returning home while the Avalanche will look to extend their home dominance in the postseason.
Can each goaltender perform better than on Wednesday, or will we get another high-scoring game in this series?
Can Vasilevskiy and the Lightning Bounce Back?
Looking to even the series at a game each, the Lightning will need to get a better performance from star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. In Game 1, Vasilevskiy had -0.52 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).
Allowing four goals on 38 shots, Vasilevskiy possessed a mere 0.895 save percentage. The good news for Tampa Bay is that Vasilevskiy should positively regress in Game 2, especially following a loss.
In games after a loss in this postseason, Vasilevskiy is 4-1 with a 0.907 save percentage. For the playoffs as a whole, Vasilevskiy boasts a 0.926 save percentage and +0.67 GSAx per 60 minutes.
In front of Vasilevskiy, the Lightning have a very competent defense that has typically been under-appreciated in these playoffs. Out of the 16 playoff teams, Tampa Bay ranks sixth this postseason in five-on-five Expected Goals Against (xGA) per game.
While they had some trouble with the Avalanche’s speed in Game 1 following a six-game series against a much slower Rangers team, the Lightning will be more ready for the pace in Game 2.
Even despite the defense needing to adjust, they still held the Avalanche to just 3.40 Expected Goals For (xGF) per 60 minutes.
Avalanche Look for a Commanding 2-0 Lead
While Vasilevskiy should positively regress for the Lightning, Colorado’s starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper should also have a better performance in Game 2. Kuemper allowed a few questionable ones as he gave up three goals on just 23 shots for a 0.870 save percentage.
The metrics back up that previous statement as Kuemper produced -0.75 GSAx. Both of these figures are below his playoff averages as he possesses a 0.895 save percentage and -0.52 GSAx per 60 minutes.
While those numbers are still not great, he has the advantage of having the best defense in hockey in front of him. In the playoffs, Colorado ranks first among the 16 teams in xGA per 60 minutes.
This trend of outstanding offensive play should not be shocking to anyone as the Avalanche ranked fourth in the league during the regular season in five-on-five xGA per 60 minutes. I don’t expect any regression from this group defensively as they possess the best defensemen in the world in Cale Makar, who skates alongside another defensive star in Devon Toews.
In Game 1, this defense did an outstanding job in suppressing the Lightning’s High-Danger Scoring Chances. Generating a mere 2.01 xGF per 60 minutes on Wednesday, the Lightning were left searching for answers and depended upon two fluky goals (their other goal was produced by an outstanding play from Nikita Kucherov).
Lightning vs. Avalanche Pick
With Vasilevskiy in a bounce-back spot, I expect a much better outing from the future Hall-of-Fame goaltender. Kuemper should also positively regress slightly, but even if he struggles again, we should expect Colorado’s defense to keep Tampa Bay’s firepower minimized.
There have now been six or fewer total goals scored in 10 of the Lightning’s last 12 playoff games (83%). On the other side, there have been six or fewer total goals scored in three of the Avalanche’s last six games (50%).
There should be no way that this line gets to 5.5, but if it does, I would not take the under at that number.
Pick: Under 6 (-110) | Play up to (-125)
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