A crucial Game 4 goes Monday afternoon between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
These teams have to already be quite tired, as surely that five overtime thriller in Game 1 has yet to allow these players to fully recover. For Columbus especially, as they just came off a gruelling opening round series win vs. Toronto. They’ve essentially played the equivalent of eight full NHL games in a span of 8 days, something that is often unheard of.
In Game 3 we started to see some effects, as the Jackets made uncharacteristic mistakes and began to deviate from their structure and discipline. The story of the playoffs, goalie Joonas Korpisalo let in a couple of weak ones, and the more talented side in Tampa Bay began to take control.
If Columbus wants any chance of advancing, they can’t go down 3-1 against a powerful side like the Lightning. Despite injuries and fatigue, this is a group that has proven many times that their dominating team-play can carry them to victory, and they will again need to be at their best on Monday.
For the Lightning, a win here would certainly allow them some much-needed breathing room and relief. There is immense pressure on this group at the moment given the expectations, and some added rest would certainly help recoveries from Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos, with the latter still sidelined.
The NHL post-season has been very profitable through two rounds thus far here at The Sports Geek, and more winners will continue to come your way. Read on beneath the posted odds for a tactical preview and betting analysis of Monday’s matinee action between the Bolts and Blue Jackets in Game 4. Enjoy!
Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Betting Odds:
Tampa Bay Lightning (-153)
Columbus Blue Jackets (+138)
Over 5 (-108)
Under 5 (-102)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Pick:
We started to see some effects of tiredness seeping into the Blue Jackets’ game back in Game 3, and it’s tough to envision that dissipating before a crucial Game 4. This is a worn down group, with key injuries to Cam Atkinson – and they simply are not talented enough to hang with the elite, skilled sides.
Back in the qualifying round, Columbus was outplayed many times by Toronto, though goalie Joonas Korpisalo stood on his head, thwarting chances over and over again. By now though, the Finnish netminder seems worn down, and though nobody wants to mention it – he let in a couple awful goals back in Game 3. With backup goalie Elvis Merzlikins sidelined, there isn’t a viable alternative and that could mean trouble for the Jackets.
Even with the last change, it didn’t seem to matter in Game 3. Pierre-Luc Dubois’ line struggled without Atkinson, and the Lightning boast so much depth that they’re an impossible group to match up against. Their skill and skating ability just seems to come in waves, and Columbus just cannot keep up at the moment.
Through three games, Tampa Bay has generated nearly 130 more shots at goal, and has a decisive scoring chance differential. This has been quite the mismatch thus far, and with added fatigue and injury from Columbus, it’s tough to see them clawing back into this series.
Look for Columbus to really try and slow the game down and clog up the neutral zone in Game 4. They’ll want to protect their goalie, and use their talented defense to keep the Lightning shooters to the outside. Unfortunately though, Tampa Bay is just far too in-form to play into the Jackets’ game. They have a big depth advantage, and the fact that this betting line has come down so much remains puzzling given their talent.
Expect the speed and skill to again wear down the Jackets. They just cannot keep up at the moment, and it will begin to show in the latter stages of Game 4. Both Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov are generating chances at impressive rates, and the Jackets’ once-heralded defensive system is starting to show some flaws. At a relatively short price, the Lightning are immense value to take control in Game 4.
Pick: Tampa Bay 4-1