We know half of the Stanley Cup matchup. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights stunningly have won the Western Conference. They await either the Lightning or Capitals in the Finals, which will be Tampa Bay with a win Monday night in Washington. The Caps, though, are favored in the NHL odds to force a Game 7 back in Tampa.
How to Bet Lightning at Capitals NHL Odds & Game 6 InfoWhen: Monday, 8 p.m. ETWhere: Capital One Arena, Washington, DCTV: NBC Sports NetworkStream: NHL.tvRadio: 970 AM (Tampa Bay) / 106.7 FM (Washington)Opening NHL Odds: Capitals -120, Lightning +110 (6)
Why Bet on Tampa Bay?It took five games, but a home team finally won a game in this series: The Bolts took Game 5 3-2 to take a 3-2 series lead. Cedric Paquette needed just 19 seconds to open the scoring in that one Saturday. Ryan Callahan batted a loose puck that went off a Capital defender and right onto Paquette’s stick, who scored his first of the playoffs. Tampa’s fourth line continued its strong play, helping the Lightning win three straight and take their first lead of the series.Callahan scored a goal and picked up an assist. His goal came 33 seconds into the second period when he crashed the net and banged home his second goal of the post-season for the game-winner. Ondrej Palat also scored. Dmitry Orlov’s spill at center ice gave the puck right to Nikita Kucherov who fed the puck over to Palat who sniped one in behind Braden Holtby for his sixth goal of the postseason.
Who Else is Had a Good Game 5?Chris Kunitz posted an assist as the trio of Kunitz, Callahan and Paquette was the best line for the Lightning in Game 5. Kunitz’s helper came on Callahan’s goal and it was his first point in 15 games during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Kucherov contributed one assist. He has been held off the scoresheet just one time in his last seven outings. He has two goals and five assists during that span.Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed two goals on 30 shots. He was only beaten by countrymen Evgeny Kuznetsov on a deflection in tight and a blast from Alex Ovechkin will just over 90 seconds remaining in regulation. After struggling in the opening two games of the series, Vasilevskiy has been terrific. The Russian is 11-4 with a 2.59 goals-against-average and .919 save percentage in these playoffs.
Why Bet on Washington?The Caps could be on the verge of becoming just the third NHL team (Montreal, 1984; Boston, 1991) during the conference era (since 1974-75) to squander a 2-0 series lead in the semifinals or finals of the playoffs. However, Washington has not lost four games straight all year, twice snapping three-game losing streaks in the regular season.Evgeny Kuznetsov celebrated his 26th birthday in Game 5 with a goal and a franchise postseason record. The Russian national found the back of the net for the 11th time during the playoffs, while his 22 points (11 assists) set a club high for a single season in the postseason. Kuznetsov has points in eight straight games, including six goals and seven assists. Including the playoffs, the team is 17-14 in games coming off contests where he scores a goal, while going 41-26 in all others.Alex Ovechkin also scored in Game 5. Trailing 3-1 late in the game, Ovechkin took a pass from John Carlson and blasted a one-timer by Andrei Vasilevskiy to get the Capitals to within one with just over 90 seconds remaining in the game. Lars Eller picked up an assist on Ovi’s goal. Maybe more importantly, Eller did not take any penalties after taking a combined five over the previous two games. Eller has 13 points through 17 postseason games so far.John Carlson hasn’t scored a goal yet during the Eastern Conference Finals, but he has had plenty of chances. Carlson has collected 23 shots in Washington’s series against Tampa Bay, including a total of eight in Game 5. Carlson has contributed four assists versus the Lightning and he has compiled 15 points in 17 playoff matches.
What Does Carlson Think About The Series?“I think we’re making a lot of good plays, we’re getting a lot of good chances,” he said. “Just that one extra guy here and there is a big difference for a goalie. I think we got to bring that extra guy in to possibly be a rebound option, pass option, just make him think a little bit, make him guess a little bit.”Carlson also wants his teammates to shoot and shoot often. That especially goes for Ovechkin, who didn’t have a shot on goal in Game 5 until 16:22 of the third period.Braden Holtby allowed three goals on 22 shots. Holtby gave up a goal 19 seconds into the game and never really recovered. Holtby has now lost three straight games, allowing 10 goals on 64 shots during those contests.The outside expectation now is that the Capitals will lose and complete another playoff collapse, living up to a history that includes losing nine of the 16 previous best-of-7 series they led 2-0 or 3-1.
Latest NHL Odds Trends
- Tampa Bay is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games
- Tampa Bay is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games
- Washington is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
- Washington is 10-5 SU in its last 15 games
- Over is 20-8-4 in the last 32 meetings
- Under is 2-0-3 in the last 5 meetings in Washington