The Stanley Cup Finals are set to begin for the NHL on June 15. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche will meet up in Game 1 on Wednesday night. These two teams have had great postseason success so far, but are each eyeing four more wins. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time on ABC.
Tampa Bay has earned a record of 12-5 throughout this postseason run as the third seed in the Atlantic division. The Lightning have eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers to reach the Finals. Tampa Bay has won four games in a row and ten of their last twelve. The Lightning will look to remain red hot to start this series.
The Avalanche have put up a record of 12-2 so far in the playoffs as the top seed in the Central division. Colorado has knocked off the Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers to make it this far. The Avalanche have dominated in this postseason, sweeping the Predators and Oilers. Colorado will look for another fast start in Game 1 of this series.
These two teams have been dominant throughout the playoffs and will look for a big win to open up the Stanley Cup Finals. Colorado is coming off some extra rest after sweeping Edmonton, while the Lightning had to go six games. Tampa Bay will look to carry momentum into this series though to catch the Avalanche a bit slow. If either team can come out fast, it could be enough for the win.
The following odds are courtesy of Bovada:
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+1 ½ (-200)||+130||Over 6 (-120)|
|Colorado Avalanche||-1 ½ (+170)||-150||Under 6 (+100)|
|Team Data||Tampa Bay Lightning||Colorado Avalanche|
|Playoff Away/ Home Record||5-4||5-2|
|Playoff GF/GP Away/ Home||2.56||4.14|
|Playoff SV% Away/ Home||.910||.899|
Tampa Bay Lightning
- 7-3 when playing on three or more days rest
- 22-10 in non-Conference games
- 12-10 after three or more straight wins
- 32-26 against team with a winning record
- 8-2 when playing on three or more days rest
- 22-10 in non-Conference games
- 36-19 after scoring four or more goals
- 26-8 after three or more straight wins
- 37-17 against team with a winning record
These two teams met up twice in the regular season. Tampa Bay hosted the first game on October 23. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists as the Avalanche earned a 4-3 win in the shootout. The second game shifted to Colorado on February 10. Devon Toews had a goal and an assist, while Darcy Kuemper stopped 36 of 38 shots as the Avalanche won 3-2.
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The Lightning have been solid on special teams throughout the postseason. Tampa Bay has scored on 14 of their 62 power play attempts, which is a 22.6 percent power play. The Lightning have killed off 47 of their opponents 57 power play chances, which is an 82.5 percent kill rate. Tampa Bay had a 21.4 percent power play and 68.8 percent penalty kill in the Conference Finals.
Colorado has had a great power play throughout the playoffs. The Avalanche have capitalized on 14 of their 45 power play opportunities, which is a 31.1 percent success rate. Colorado has given up 9 power play goals on 37 penalties against, which is a 75.7 percent penalty kill. The Avalanche had a 25 percent power play and 81.8 percent penalty kill last series.
The Avalanche have had the better power play throughout the postseason, while Tampa Bay has the better penalty kill in these playoffs. The Lightning struggled on the kill against New York in the Conference Finals though. Colorado has been great at staying out of the box, which they will look to keep up. If either team can get a power play goal in this one, it could be enough for the win.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will likely get the start in the net for Tampa Bay in this one. Vasilevskiy has earned a record of 12-5 throughout his 17 starts in the playoffs. He has posted a .928 save percentage and a GAA of 2.27 in those games. Vasilevskiy stopped 20 of 21 shots in Game 6 against the Rangers to remain red hot in series clinching games.
I expect Darcy Kuemper to get the start in the crease for the Avalanche in Game 1. Kuemper has started in 10 games this postseason, going 6-2 in those outings. He has put up a save percentage of .897 and a 2.65 GAA in his starts. Kuemper 13 of 16 shots in Game 1 against the Edmonton Oilers before picking up an injury that held him out for the remainder of the series.
Vasilevskiy has continued his postseason dominance and is a huge reason why the Lightning have a chance for their third straight Stanley Cup. Kuemper has struggled with injuries this postseason, missing four games in the playoffs. Pavel Francouz has been strong in relief as well if the Avalanche choose to ride him momentum from the previous series.
These two teams have been great throughout the playoffs and will look for a big win as they meet up in Game 1. The Avalanche have been great in Game 1’s this playoff run, winning all three, while Tampa Bay is 1-2 in their Game 1’s. Colorado has been dominant this postseason and I think they will come out fast in this one at home. If the Avalanche can get the early lead, I think they can take the 1-0 series lead.
Bovada has Colorado listed as a -150 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Avalanche will win this game around 60 percent of the time. I agree with this line, but I do not see a lot of value in it. I expect Colorado to come out fast and attack Tampa Bay’s defense early. The Avalanche are also listed at -105 to win in regulation. I like those odds for Colorado to finish this game without extra time.