Stanley Cup Final: Lightning-Avalanche odds, preview, prediction

On paper, it doesn’t get any higher than the Tampa Bay Lightning versus the Colorado Avalanche for all of the marbles. On one finish of the ice, you’ve got the Stanley Cup favorites. And on the opposite, the two-time defending champions looking for the primary three-peat in main North American sports activities (NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL) for the reason that Lakers did it in 2002. 

Despite the truth that they’re going up in opposition to the back-to-back champs, the Avalanche are a decent-sized favourite on this collection. Colorado is -175 to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, whereas the Bolts are at the moment sitting at +150. In different phrases, oddsmakers give the Avs a 61.4 p.c probability at successful the collection while you take away the juice. 

Lightning vs. Avalanche Stanley Cup odds

Odds offered by BetMGM

Stanley Cup winner odds: Avalanche (-190) vs. Lightning (+155)

Series unfold: Avalanche -1.5 (+110) vs. Lightning +1.5 (-130)

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Lightning vs. Avalanche collection preview and prediction

While no staff within the NHL deserves to be favored over the Avalanche in a best-of-7 collection this season, the Lightning are one of some groups within the league that wouldn’t be an enormous underdog on this matchup. That’s as a result of Tampa Bay has a few key benefits over Colorado, together with an enormous one in between the pipes.

After a gradual begin within the Eastern Conference Final, Andrei Vasilevskiy snapped again into kind to guide the Lightning to 4 straight wins in opposition to the Rangers. Vasilevskiy allowed simply 5 objectives within the Lightning’s final 4 wins and solely a kind of tallies — a seeing-eye shot from the half-wall by Ryan Lindgren — got here at 5-on-5. Vasilevskiy has skated to a .928 save share and posted a +12.7 Goals Saved Above Expected in 17 video games this postseason. 

And maybe most encouraging for the Lightning and Vasilevskiy is that the 27-year-old Russian has proven the flexibility to shake off pedestrian performances rapidly. Vasilevskiy wasn’t at his finest within the first half of Round 1 and the primary six durations of Round 3, however as soon as he discovered his sport he was unbelievable.

Colorado Avalanche face off against the reigning champion Tampa Bay Lightning
Colorado Avalanche face off in opposition to the reigning champion Tampa Bay Lightning
NHLI through Getty Images

While we now have a reasonably good thought of what to anticipate out of Vasilevskiy, Colorado’s goaltending state of affairs is precarious. Darcy Kuemper is predicted to be the Game 1 starter, however he’s been injured twice this postseason and hasn’t been in a position to get right into a rhythm in between his time on the sidelines. Kuemper was robust for the Avs through the common season however has posted a .897 save share and -4.4 GSAx in 10 video games through the event. 

Against most groups, the Avalanche can get away with common goaltending, however with Vasilevskiy on the opposite facet of the rink, the margins can be fairly skinny. 

Of course, the flip facet of this argument is that Vasilevskiy and the Lightning protection can be going up in opposition to their hardest job but. Colorado is 12-2 within the postseason, averaging 4.64 objectives per sport, and has scored 5 or extra objectives in a sport in half of their playoff video games to this point. 

Some context is required for Colorado’s offensive manufacturing, nonetheless. In Round 1, the Avs blew the doorways off of an overmatched Nashville staff with out its beginning goaltender. In Round 2, the Avs took on a depleted Blues protection, and Jordan Binnington was injured early within the collection. The Oilers didn’t have any of the harm points that the Preds or Blues needed to cope with, however Edmonton’s protection pales compared to the Bolts. 

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In phrases of staff depth, there’s an argument that these two squads are fairly shut. The Avalanche have the 2 finest skaters within the collection in Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar, however the Bolts have loads of star energy themselves with Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman. And Tampa Bay’s supporting cast, which incorporates the very best shutdown line of the postseason, can skate with Colorado’s. There’s little or no separating these two groups in the midst of the lineup.

The Avalanche entered the season because the Stanley Cup favorites and barely budged from that spot all year. They closed as an underdog simply seven instances through the 82-game common season and are the primary staff for the reason that 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings to shut as the favourite in each sport till the Stanley Cup Final. The Avalanche are traditionally good, however this Lightning staff is already within the historical past books.

The Avs are the higher staff on this matchup and are deserving of their standing as favorites. That mentioned, this matchup is nearer than the percentages counsel. 

Lightning vs. Avalanche Stanley Cup collection prediction 

  • Tampa Bay Lightning +155 (BetMGM)
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