Last night’s NHL action saw the Islanders take a stranglehold on their series against the Boston Bruins as they head back to Nassau Coliseum with a 3-2 lead. It also saw the Montreal Canadiens bid at a sweep.
For tonight’s games, we could see a series end in Tampa, as the Lightning hold a 3-1 advantage over the Hurricanes of Carolina. And out West, we will see a pivotal Game 5 between the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights as they both look to break the 2-2 series tie.
Carolina Hurricanes @ Tampa Bay Lightning (TBL lead 3-1) 6:30 PM EST
At this point, Tampa Bay cannot be stopped.
After relinquishing Game 3 to the Hurricanes in overtime, the Lightning entered Game 4 fast and took a 1-0 lead into the 2nd period.
The 2nd Period was one for the ages as the Lightning and Hurricanes both scored four goals. The Hurricanes would score two goals in around 40 seconds to take a 2-1 lead only to be answered by a Tampa Bay power play 4 minutes later to tie the game at 2-2. Carolina would then score 2 straight in a 3 min span to take a two-goal lead. That two-goal lead would be answered by three straight Lightning goals to give them a 5-4 lead at the end of the second period. The third goal, scored by Tyler Johnson, would be the game-winner as Kucherov topped off the scoring in the third period on a 2 on 1.
Game 4 was a bit of an outlier, as the previous 3 games had been decided by 1 goal, and none of them had tallied more than 5 goals combined between both teams.
The stars are getting hot at the right time for the Lightning as Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos both tallied 3 points and potted 2 goals in their Game 4 victory. Similar to last year when the Lightning won the cup, their stars are shining brightest when it matters.
For the Hurricanes, their young core has tried their best to keep up with the veterans of Tampa Bay. Young two-way star Sebastian Aho has recorded four points (1G, 3A) in this series after a three-point performance in their Game 3 victory, and Andrei Svechnikov has tallied a point in each game of the series and five points total (1G, 4A).
With Tampa returning home to Amalie Arena, I have little hope for Carolina to extend this series.
Betting Picks: Tampa Bay ML (-120) Under 5 ½ (-114). Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Vegas Golden Knights @ Colorado Avalanche (Series Tied 2-2) 9:00 PM EST
In a series where every game has been won by the home team, we head back to Colorado for a pivotal Game 5.
Jonathan Marchessault’s hat trick, the first of his career in the NHL Playoffs, propelled the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 win on Sunday night to tie the best of 7 series against the Colorado Avalanche at two games apiece. Game 5 is set to go on Tuesday night from Denver.
Colorado is the betting favorite in this one with a line of -149 on the moneyline.
Colorado should be concerned for one reason. The disappearance of their top line during 5 on 5 play. The top line of Nathan Mackinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen was a -2 in Game 4 and haven’t scored at even strength since Game 1. Rantanen’s 17 game point steak also came to an end on Sunday.
However, they should be optimistic as they have been home cooking this season, going 20-0-1 in their last 21 home games.
Vegas completely shut Colorado down Sunday after allowing an early First period goal. They responded with five of their own, three from Jonathan Marchessault, recording his first career NHL playoff Hat trick.
If Vegas continues to score at this pace and continue to outshoot Colorado, they will always have a chance to compete (Outshot Colorado 110-52 since the first period of Game 2).
Marc-Andre Fleury has faced a light workload over that time period, only facing 18 shots on Sunday allowing in 1. They should hope he is prepared and adjusted to face what I think will be an onslaught from Colorado to make up for the past 3 games.
I’m going to take the home team again in this series and would go as far to say they will win this by more than 2.
Betting Picks: Colorado Puckline (+165) and Over 5 ½ (-104). Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.