NHL Game Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning at Colorado Avalanche

Jun 24, 2022

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Game: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Colorado Avalanche

Time: 8:15 p.m. ET

Odds:  Lightning +155, Avalanche -175

Total: 6

The Colorado Avalanche can end it all tonight with a win in Game 5 in front of the home crowd at Ball Arena. The Avs were outplayed in most of Game 4 but still managed a 3-2 overtime victory to put the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on notice. Colorado is 8-1 in its last nine games with the only loss coming in Game 3 of this series. Home ice has been a huge advantage throughout this postseason for all teams, Colorado included.

At home in the playoffs this season, Colorado is 7-2 SU. In those nine games, they have outscored their opponents 40-23. The Avs are averaging 4.44 goals per game on home ice and the defense is allowing 2.55. In the previous two games against Tampa Bay at home, Colorado has outscored the Lightning 11-3. The bottom line is that the Avs are extremely good at both ends of the ice.

Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was on the wrong end of those first two games, giving up more goals in Game 2 than he ever had in any playoff game. He was solid in Game 4 stopping 34 of 37 shots, but Colorado poured it on in overtime. The Avs had tied the game in the third period and then outshot the Lightning 10-3 in the extra period. The loss was Tampa Bay’s first home loss since the first round of the playoffs. They had won eight straight prior to Wednesday night.

Now, Vasilevskiy will have to face an Avalanche team that is operating in high gear. Colorado hasn’t lost at home since Game 5 of the second round of the playoffs. In their last five games at home, the Avs are averaging 5.4 goals per game. Nathan MacKinnon scored his first goal of the series in Game 4 and Nazem Kadri, who had missed the four previous games, nailed the game-winner in overtime.

Tampa Bay has not had much success against Colorado lately. The Lightning are 1-5 SU in the last six against the Avs. Tampa Bay has also not been very good on the road recently either. The Lightning are 1-4 SU in their last five games. The reigning Stanley Cup champs have had some success when playing the underdog role. In their last six games as the underdog, Tampa Bay is 4-2 SU.

The Lightning have also been stronger in games later in a playoff series. This playoff season in Games 5, 6, or 7; Vasilevskiy has allowed more than three goals just once (Game 5 at Toronto). The Lightning have played five such games so far this postseason. Vasilevskiy has allowed a total of just 10 goals.

His counterpart, Darcy Kuemper, is better at home where he was 21-4 during the regular season. His goals against average was 2.51 at home. Three of the four games so far have gone Over the total. That brings the Over to 7-2 in the last nine Tampa Bay-Colorado games.