Lightning are Favorites in NHL Lines for Game 1 vs. Bruins
The NHL playoff format is messed up, Part 2. I started with that sentence in the preview of Friday’s Jets-Predators preview because Winnipeg and Nashville have the two highest point totals in the league and yet are playing only in the conference semis. Well, Boston and Tampa Bay had the two highest point totals in the East and yet they are playing in the conference semis as well instead of the Finals. Game 1 is Saturday afternoon in Tampa, which is favored on the NHL lines.
How to Bet Bruins at Lightning NHL Lines & Game 1 Info
When: Saturday, 3 PM ET
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa
Radio: 98.5 FM (Boston) / 970 AM (Tampa Bay)
Opening NHL Lines: Lightning -137, Bruins +124 (6)
Latest NHL Betting Trends
- Boston is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
- Boston is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games on the road
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Boston’s last 6 games
- Tampa Bay is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
- Tampa Bay is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Tampa Bay’s last 5 games when playing Boston
The Lightning (54-23-5, 113 points) won the Atlantic Division, while the Bruins (50-20-12, 112 points) were second. Boston won three of four games against Tampa Bay, outscoring the Lightning 10-8.
Tampa won the last meeting, 4-0 at home on April 3. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves, and Braydon Coburn and Ryan Callahan both had two assists during a three-goal second period. Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, Chris Kunitz and J.T. Miller scored for the Lightning. Tampa Bay played without star center Steven Stamkos, but he’s healthy now. Tuukka Rask stopped 32 shots for the Bruins.
Why Bet on Boston’s NHL Lines?
The Bruins finished off a terrific seven-game series vs. Toronto with a 7-4 home win Wednesday. It was Boston’s 26th Game 7 all-time, most in NHL history. The seven goals were the most they have ever scored in a Game 7.
Jake DeBrusk scored a pair of goals in the win. DeBrusk’s power-play goal at the 4:47 mark of the first period tied the game at one. The Bruins found themselves down 4-3 in the third frame, but Torey Krug tied it up before DeBrusk scored the go-ahead goal to make it 5-4 for his team. The 21-year-old had a solid opening round, as he collected five goals and seven points in seven games.
David Pastrnak scored a goal and an assist. Pastrnak registered the primary assist on DeBrusk’s game-tying goal (1-1) in the first period. The Bruins forward then added the insurance marker (6-4) with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation. Pastrnak finished the night with a minus-1 rating, three shots on goal and on hit and two blocked shots in 19:36 of ice time. The 21-year-old accumulated five goals and 13 points in seven games.
Rick Nash was back on the second line for Game 7 and ended his four-game scoring skid. Nash moved to the third line in Game 6, but he was back alongside DeBrusk and David Krejci on Wednesday. He only contributed one goal and two points in seven games in Round 1.
Tuukka Rask allowed four goals on 24 shots. Rask allowed two goals in the first 6:12 of the game and he followed that up by giving up two more goals on six shots in the second frame. The Bruins netminder now has a 4-3 record with a 2.94 goals-against-average and a .899 save percentage this postseason.
On defense, another young player has risen to stardom. Charlie McAvoy is becoming a game-changing defender. In Round 1, he led all Bruins skaters in minutes and was on the ice for a 7-4 advantage in even-strength goals.
Why Bet on Tampa Bay’s NHL Lines?
Last Saturday, the Lightning eliminated the New Jersey Devils — the team the Bruins would have faced in the first round had they won Game 82 against Florida — in five games.
Nikita Kucherov netted the game-winning goal in Game 5. Kucherov provided an important insurance goal at the 12:27 mark of the third period and it ended up being the game winner after New Jersey got a goal from Patrick Maroon with three minutes remaining. Kucherov scored five goals in the series and he generated 10 points. Though he had five points (two goals, three assists) in Tampa Bay’s final eight regular-season games, he turned it up once the playoffs began after he finished third in the NHL with 100 points (39 goals, 61 assists).
Ryan Callahan found the back of the net in his return to lineup in Game 5. Callahan missed two playoff games because of an upper-body injury. He scored an empty-net marker to seal the series and eliminate New Jersey. Steven Stamkos recorded at least a point in each game of the first round.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots in the finale. The Lightning netminder only allowed two goals in the final two games of the series on 55 shots. He tied for the NHL lead with 44 wins (Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets), led in shutouts (eight), and finished the regular season with a 2.62 GAA and .920 save percentage.
Tampa Bay’s penalty kill was great in Round 1. The Lightning killed off 16 of 19 New Jersey power plays, including the last 15. The Devils scored twice 5-on-3 advantages in the series. Tampa Bay ranked 28th on the penalty kill during the regular season. ”
Center Brayden Point had 66 points (32 goals, 34 assists) during the regular season and three points (one goal, two assists) in the first round. But his real value came in helping shut down the Devils’ top line of Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri.
At the trade deadline, the Lightning loaded up by adding Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller from the New York Rangers. Coach John Cooper placed Miller on the top line with Stamkos and Kucherov, who combined for 186 points this season and led the league’s No. 1 scoring attack. In 136 regular-season minutes with Kucherov, Miller managed an impressive 56.4 Corsi for percentage.
Expert NHL Betting Prediction
Here’s another series I would expect to go the full eight games. The Lightning are well-rested and the Bruins aren’t. Take Tampa in Game 1.