The President’s Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the first step toward living up to their billing as Stanley Cup Finals favorites when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of their first round Eastern Conference playoff matchup on Wednesday night.
Now, with the top seed in the east looking to avoid the upset, let’s find out which team is offering the best value in the first game on the 2019 NHL playoff schedule.
Blue Jackets vs Lightning 2019 Stanley Cup Odds & Game 1 Preview
- When: Wednesday April 10, 2019, 7:00 PM ET
- Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
- TV: USA, Sportsnet360, TVA; FSOH, FSSun
- Radio: Columbus / Tampa Bay
- Live Stream: NHL.tv
- 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Odds: Tampa Bay -145 / Columbus +131 / Total: 6.5
Why Bet On Columbus?
The Columbus Blue Jackets might be underdogs, but the Blue Jackets hit the postseason on fire, having won their final two regular season games and an impressive seven of their final eight games overall including a 6-2 smackdown of Ottawa in their finale on Saturday. Ironically, Columbus head coach John Tortorella took Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup in 2004 and his team captain believes his team will come out prepared in this series.
“We are a team that feels really confident now that we’ve gotten in, with everything we’ve faced and gone through,” Columbus captain Nick Foligno told reporters. “We’ve grown as a team together. I think you’re just seeing this become more of a team. We’re excited about putting that to use in the playoffs.”
Artemi Panarin led the Blue Jackets in scoring this season with 87 points, including a team-high 59 assists. Cam Atkinson led Columbus with 41 goals while goalie Sergei Bobrovsky finished the season with a record of 37-25-9 with a 2.58 GAA and 9 shutouts this season. The Blue Jackets finished the regular season ranked 12th in scoring (3.1 gpg) and 11th in goals allowed (2.8 gpg).
- Goals: 3.15
- Shots: 31.59
- PP/PK Percentage: 15.38
- Goals: 2.83
- Shots: 29.49
- PP/PK Percentage: 15
Why Bet On Tampa Bay?
Not only did Tampa Bay tie the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most wins by a team in the regular season in NHL history, but their 30 road victories are the second most in league history behind the 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings record of 31. The Lightning won their final two regular season contests over Eastern Conference playoff participants Toronto and Boston and more importantly, they’ve won all six games against the Blue Jackets the last two seasons, including all three meetings this season while outscoring them 17-3. Still, Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper says his team will be on guard against the dangerous Blue Jackets.
“We haven’t played them in quite some time, and they’ve got so many more players now,” Cooper told reporters. “Are they a more talented group? There’s no question. They’ve added some really good players. … The one thing I do know is they’re playing probably their best hockey of the year in this latter part of the season.”
Right-winger Nikita Kucherov led the league in scoring with 128 points while center Steven Stamkos finished fourth in goals scored with 45 and center Brayden Point finished 12th in scoring and tied for sixth with Kucherov in goals scored with 41. Tampa Bay finished the regular season ranked first in scoring (3.9 gpg) and seventh in goals allowed (2.7 gpg). Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy led the league with 39 wins despite missing a month due to injury.
- Goals: 3.96
- Shots: 31.93
- PP/PK Percentage: 28.35
- Goals: 2.71
- Shots: 32.11
- PP/PK Percentage: 14.98
Blue Jackets vs Lightning Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Trends
- Columbus is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games
- Columbus is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Columbus’s last 6 games
- Tampa Bay is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games at home
- Tampa Bay is 20-5 SU in its last 25 games
- The total has gone OVER in 7 of Tampa Bay’s last 9 games
Expert Analysis and Prediction for Blue Jackets vs Lightning
it’s quite impressive that Columbus has gone 5-0 in their last 5 road games, 7-1 in their last 8 games overall and 5-2 in their last seven games against teams from the Atlantic division, but Tampa bay has gone 6-1 in their last seven conference quarterfinals contests, an insane 44-8 in their last 52 games against their Eastern Conference counterparts and 45-12 in their last 57 games overall. Columbus is 3-10 in their last 13 road games against Tampa Bay and 0-6 in the last six meetings overall. The Blue Jackets won’t go down easily, but they are going down to a clearly superior Tampa Bay team that has been the best in hockey since opening night.
NHL Betting Pick: Tampa Bay 5 Columbus 2