The Tampa Bay Lightning earned a crucial road win in Game 1 against the Florida Panthers. The Lightning got three goals from their bottom six, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy returned to form, stopping 33 of 34 shots. The Panthers look to even the series tonight before hitting the road to Tampa. This is where you’ll find everything, including team win odds, the over/under, and point spreads.
Steven Stamkos – Anytime Goalscorer (+160)
Teams won’t keep a player like Steven Stamkos at bay for very long by allowing him to pile on shots. In Game 1, he put five pucks on net and was dangerous every time the team took to the power play. He had three goals in four games against the Panthers during the regular season, and he’ll look to add to his totals during the postseason after registering only two against the Maple Leafs.
Last year, Stamkos scored in back-to-back games against Florida in the opening round. He plays the team well and reads their defensive miscues perfectly, finding open lanes to sneak into. Once he’s in position for his signature release in the high slot, there aren’t too many goaltenders who can stop him. Bobrovsky played well enough to keep the Lightning at bay for 40 minutes, but if his team has another collapse with discipline, expect Stamkos to find the back of the net.
Aleksander Barkov – Player Points (Over 1.5, +150)
One player who knows how to bounce back from a tough loss is Aleksander Barkov. His team was devastated by a Game 1 loss to the Capitals in the opening round, and he took it upon himself to ensure his team’s success the following game. A two-point performance helped elevate his team to even the series. He went on to register four points in the final four games while averaging three shots on goal. A hungry Barkov is a dangerous thing to play against and one that the Lightning’s defensive corps will hope to shut down.
Historically, Barkov’s style matches Tampa Bay well enough to give him opportunities each time he possesses the puck. He registered five points in four games during the regular season, including two multi-point nights. Last year’s postseason saw him put up seven points in the first five games before being shut down in the deciding Game 6. With that memory in mind, expect Barkov to be buzzing around the net all game.
Jonathan Huberdeau – Player Shots (Over 2.5, -160)
Another player who could stand to put up more offense is Jonathan Huberdeau. He currently sits at four points in seven games this postseason. The chances are there, but he’s averaging just 2.85 shots per game thus far. For a player who plays over 20 minutes per game more often than not, the Panthers will need a little more from him. This is especially on the power play, which was anemic in Game 1 after going 0-for-3. He’s coming off a career year after registering 30 goals for the second time in his career and hitting 115 points.
There are some promising patterns to Florida’s game that favours Huberdeau’s style. More than half of the Panthers’ shot attempts came from the slot, and their top two lines saw more than a dozen quality scoring chances. If this persists, expect more of what we saw from Florida in the first two periods of Game 1. The over/under for this bet needs Huberdeau to register three shots on goal, something he did twice in four meetings against the Lightning during the regular season. With plenty of ice time and Tampa’s defense struggling to keep up with Florida’s speed, expect him to put at least three pucks on net in Game 2.
Odds via Yahoo and Bet365.
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