I didn’t give the Tampa Bay Lightning much chance of repeating as Eastern Conference champions after losing superstar Steven Stamkos late in the regular season to a blood clot issue that was expected to sideline him for the entire playoffs. I’m still not ready to say the Bolts will win the East, but they can take a big step toward the conference finals with a win in Game 4 at the New York Islanders on Friday. Tampa, with a 2-1 series lead, is -355 on NHL betting odds to win the series and the Isles are +295.
A Look at the Tampa Bay at NY Islanders NHL Playoffs Odds Game 4 & TV Info
When: Friday, May 6, 7 PM ET
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn
TV: NBC Sports Network
Opening NHL Lines: Islanders -107, Lightning -103 (5)
Lightning at Islanders Historic Betting Trends
Tampa took Game 3 in Brooklyn 5-4 in overtime. Brian Boyle scored at 2:48 of overtime. Seconds before the Lightning’s rush on their winning goal, Boyle delivered a hard shoulder hit to the head of Thomas Hickey on the left side after the Islanders defenseman had sent the puck forward. No penalty was called on the play. The Lightning got the puck and were on an odd-man rush as defenseman Victor Hedman fired a shot from the left side that was wide. The rebound came off the boards and right to Boyle in front at the right side of the goal and he tapped it in for the win.
There’s a chance that Boyle could be suspended for that, but ESPN analyst Barry Melrose doesn’t think so. Isles coach Jack Capuano wants one. Capuano did not have an update on Hickey after the game.
“It’s a direct shot to the head,” Capuano said. “I mean, probably going to get suspended a game. That’s what I mean. The whole game, it shouldn’t come down to that.”
Ben Bishop gave up four goals on 39 shots. The Bolts found themselves down on three different occasions in this one, but they managed to tie the game with less than 40 seconds remaining in the third period. Bishop has won four of his last five games dating back to Game 4 against Detroit, but he’s given up four goals in two of his last three outings. He has a 6-2 record with a 2.27 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage this postseason.
Vladislav Namestnikov tallied his first career playoff goal in Tuesday’s game. He scored early in the third period to tie Game 3 at 3-3. Namestnikov was filling for Jonathan Drouin, who was leveled by a big hit and had to be checked out before he was cleared to return. Namestnikov has two points in eight postseason contests in 2016. Drouin was knocked out early in the second period by a thunderous hit from Hickey, but he returned midway through the third.
Hedman registered his second goal of the postseason in Game 3. He also added two assists in the match to give him six points over a three-game scoring spree. Hedman had six shots and a plus-2 rating in 30:15 of ice time. Alex Killorn earned a pair of assists. He had helpers on goals by Ryan Callahan (power play) and Namestnikov in the contest. Killorn has generated three goals and eight points in eight games during the 2016 playoffs. Valtteri Filppula had two assists. He has produced a goal and three assists over a three-game point streak during Round 2 of the playoffs.
The Islanders had a 4-3 lead with under a minute to go in the third period, before Nikita Kucherov tied it up with 38.4 seconds to play. Josh Bailey scored two goals for New York. Bailey opened the scoring at the 7:55 mark of the first period. His third period goal (scored on the power play) gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead with just over 17 minutes remaining.
Thomas Greiss allowed five goals on 41 shots. Greiss has given up three goals or more in three straight games. He’ll enter Game 4 with a 5-4 record, a 2.34 goals-against-average and a .930 save percentage this postseason.
Expert Betting Prediction
I still like Tampa Bay to win this series in seven, but go Islanders in Game 4.