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Colorado Avalanche lead 2-1 vs Tampa Bay Lightning so far in the Stanley Cup Finals! Mark Ross is here to preview Game 4 ahead of the action.

If I was to tell you that after they lost seven nothing to the Colorado Avalanche, the Tampa Bay Lightning would come out in the very next game and win by six goals to two would you have believed it? Well, that’s exactly what happened. Tampa Bay dragged themselves right back into the Stanley Cup Finals after a convincing win that reminded the hockey world why they are the back-to-back reigning champions. Prior to Game Three starting the Lightning were 4/1 to go on and win the Stanley Cup, you can now get them at 13/5 after their dominant win. Colorado was at 1/6 and has now been cut to 2/7. Will the Tampa Bay Lightning level the series in Game Four?

After being made to look like a peewee hockey team in Games One and Two, the Tampa Bay Lightning burst into the Stanley Cup Finals in Game Three of the series. But, they did give their fans a scare before they got it going. Tampa Bay gave up another early lead and it looked like the writing was on the wall. But, like we previously said you don’t become repeat Stanley Cup Winners easily. Just like they have done previously in this playoff run the Lightning fought back and by the end of the first period they were 2-1 to the good.

Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat scored the opening two goals for the Lightning and there was no looking back. Nicholas Paul added a wrist shot for a third goal just over a minute into the second quarter before the Avalanche pulled one back through Gabriel Landeskog’s power-play goal from a Cale Makar assist. Then the floodgates opened. Steven Stamkos, Pat Maroon, and Corey Perry all added further goals in the second period to give the Lighting a huge 6-2 lead heading into the final period.

The Avalanche could mount no comeback at all in the third period, despite the Lightning losing Nicholas Paul and Nikita Kucherov to injury.

Despite being one of the best goalies in the National Hockey League, Lightning keeper Andrei Vasilevskiy was battered for seven goals in Game Two and had no answers for the Avalanche’s fast-paced offence. Game Three flipped the script as it was the Avalanche who couldn’t compete with the offensive prowess of the Lightning.

Tampa Bay is used to losing games in this year’s playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche is not. Prior to this Game Three loss, the Avalanche hadn’t lost since May 25th and had not been beaten by a scoreline anything like the 6-2 drubbing they had to endure. Going into the game the Lightning had not lost at home in this year’s playoffs and the Avalanche had not lost an away game. How will the Avalanche cope with not only their first road loss but also one of such magnitude?

Best Bets

Heading into Game Four the Lightning have got themselves right back in this series and will look to level it at 2-2. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned the Avalanche hadn’t lost a road game in the playoffs and they will be looking to make up for this loss. Despite it being a home game for the Lightning, both teams are at 20/23 to get the win in Game Four on the money line. On the puck line, however, the Tampa Bay Lightning are at 8/15 with a plus 0.5 handicap and the Avalanche are at 13/10 with a minus 0.5 handicap.

Tampa Bay will be looking to do everything they can to get a third game at home and to guarantee that, they have to win Game Four. That will call on another big game from all their players. Steven Stamkos I’m looking at you. It’s time for a captain’s performance if you want to bring back the third successive Stanley Cup. At 7/2 odds you can get both Stamkos and Nathan MacKinnon to have over 0.5 power-play points. Both teams have made the power-play work at different points throughout this series and will need to continue that in Game Four.

So far in this series, there have been 10 goals in the first period, nine in the second, and two in the third. Game One went to overtime where the Avalanche added a further goal. Goals have been concentrated in the first and second periods and I would look for that to continue. At 7/2 odds you can get the first period to be the highest-scoring period of Game Four. Not bad when it has been the highest-scoring throughout the series. Compare that to 9/4 for the second and 23/10 for the third and it looks like a good bet.

We were successful in our bets for Game Three as both Steven Stamkos and Nathan MacKinnon had over 3.5 shots and Cale Makar and Nikita Kucherov both had over 0.5 assists. They were good for 9/5 and 37/20 respectively. Let’s hope we are right again in Game Four.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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