The Tampa Bay Lightning worked all season to get home-ice advantage all throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. That’s all gone now as the Bolts were beaten in the first two games of the conference finals in Tampa by a combined score of 10-4 by the Capitals. It’s a must win game Tuesday night in D.C. for Tampa Bay, but it’s an NHL odds underdog.
2018 Playoffs Preview: Lightning at Capitals NHL Odds & Game 3 Info
When: Tuesday, 8 PM ET
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: 970 AM (Tampa Bay) / 106.7 FM (Washington)
Opening NHL Odds: Capitals -120, Lightning +110 (6)
Why Bet on Tampa Bay?
After losing 4-2 in Game 1, the Bolts were 6-2 losers in Game 2. They only lost two total games in the first two rounds against New Jersey and Boston. Andrei Vasilevskiy has not been good in this series. He gave up those ix goals on 37 shots in losing his second straight game to the Capitals. Vasilevskiy has now given up 10 goals in 62 shots against Washington and although coach Jon Cooper has given his goalie a vote of confidence in saying he won’t be replaced for Game 3, he has been fighting the puck. Vasilevskiy is now 8-3 in the playoffs but after a great start, his GAA is 2.74 while his save percentage is at .912.
Cooper said Monday that Vasilevskiy is “our guy.” He also indicated that he isn’t planning on making other changes to the lineup either.
Brayden Point scored his of the postseason and added an assist in Game 2. Point registered both points on first-period power plays. He has been productive in the playoffs with 12 points through 12 contests. Steven Stamkos scored his fifth of the playoffs and added an assist Sunday. Stamkos’ goal gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead, but that was the end of the scoring for Tampa Bay. Stamkos has 13 points this postseason, which puts him one behind Nikita Kucherov for the team lead.
Who Else Had a Good Game 2?
Victor Hedman had an assist Sunday to give him a seven-game points streak. Hedman started the playoffs with zero points in his first four games, but he has generated eight assists during his current point spree. He is still looking for his first goal of the postseason after he scored 17 times during the regular season.
Hedman, who last month was named a Norris Trophy finalist for the second consecutive season, has set a Lightning playoff record for the longest such points run in franchise history. He eclipsed the previous benchmark set by Martin St. Louis during the 2004 postseason (4-7—11 in 6 GP). Hedman is the second defenseman in as many postseasons to record a point streak of at least seven games (Nashville’s Ryan Ellis: 4-5—9 in 7 GP). The last defenseman to post a point streak longer than seven games was Larry Murphy in 1995 with Pittsburgh (2-13—15 in 9 GP).
Why Bet on Washington?
Sunday’s win was Washington’s NHL-leading seventh road win of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs to match a club record set during the 1998 postseason, when the team went 7-3 on the road in reaching the Stanley Cup Final.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 10th of the playoffs and he added an assist in the Game 2 win. Ovechkin has accounted for two goals and four assists over a four-game point streak. He has two goals and two assists in two matches against the Lightning so far. Ovechkin has amassed 19 points through 14 playoff contests. He’s the first player in Capitals history to score 10+ goals in a single postseason multiple times. He scored 11 in 2009.
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored once and added a pair of assists on Sunday. Kuznetsov has five points in the first two games of the series and has 10 points in his current five-game point streak. Kuznetsov has eight goals and 19 points this postseason. Lars Eller scored one goal and posted two assists. Eller has stepped up with Nicklas Backstrom out of the lineup due to a hand injury. He has two goals and two assists in the last two games to give him five markers and 11 points through 14 matches in the playoffs.
At 19 points apiece, Ovechkin (10-9—19) and Kuznetsov (8-11—19) sit two points shy of matching the Capitals franchise record for points in a single postseason, established by Ovechkin himself in 2009 (11-10—21 in 14 GP). The only other Capitals player with 10+ goals in one playoff year is John Druce (14 in 15 GP in 1990).
Who Else Helped Out in the Win for Game 2?
John Carlson had a pair of assists and was instrumental in the Game 2 win. Carlson established a new team record by reaching 14 total points for this postseason. This is the most points in a single postseason by a Capitals defenseman, surpassing the previous record that Scott Stevens and Kevin Hatcher and Carlson held.
The Capitals scored late in a period again on Sunday. Those goals are demoralizing to the opposition and the Caps did it for the second game in a row as Kuznetsov scored with 2.7 seconds left in the second period after Ovechkin scored with six seconds remaining in the first period of Game 1.
Here’s some hope for Tampa: The Capitals hold an all-time series record of 0-2 when winning Games 1 and 2 as visitors, losing in six games to the Penguins (1996 CQF) and Lightning (2003 CQF). Overall, NHL clubs are 71-20 in 91 all-time best-of-seven series when taking a 2-0 lead on the road.
Latest NHL Odds Trends
- Tampa Bay is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
- Tampa Bay is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
- The total has gone OVER in 17 of Tampa Bay’s last 25 games on the road
- Washington is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
- Washington is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Washington’s last 8 games at home
Expert NHL Betting Prediction for Game 3
I think the best bet for Game 2 is over that total of 6, but expect the Bolts to play desperate and back them in the NHL odds.