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.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+140) vs Florida Panthers (-165)
TBL: 5-3, 3.38 GF/GP, 3.13 GA/GP
FLA: 4-3, 3.00 GF/GP, 3.29 GA/GP
The odds still favour the Panthers, but the numbers have decreased slightly compared to Game 1. Anthony Duclair scored his team’s only goal after being healthy scratched in Game 6 against the Washington Capitals. He enjoyed a career year this season, registering 31 goals and 58 points. The Panthers enjoyed a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission and were outshooting the Lightning 24-18 after two periods. Sergei Bobrovsky was sharp when he needed to be, but a pair of goals on the power play propelled the Lightning to a 4-1 lead, winning Game 1.
Vasilevskiy looked like his usual self in Game 1, finishing with a .971 save percentage and holding down the fort through two periods. His play gave the Lightning the confidence they needed, and they utilized their speed and physicality in the third period to take over the game. A roughing penalty and a delay of game call due to an unsuccessful coaches’ challenge led to back-to-back goals on the man advantage, and the Lightning cruised to a 1-0 series lead. Their power play won’t always go three-for-six, but taking advantage of Florida’s subpar penalty kill worked wonders in Game 1.
Florida – Win By More Than 1 Goal (-1.5, +140)
Like the Lightning, the Panthers are good at bouncing back from tough losses. After dropping Game 1 against the Capitals, they bounced back and punished their opponents 5-1. In the regular season, Florida suffered consecutive defeats only five times throughout 82 games. One of those stretches included late-season scratches to most of their superstars to rest up for the postseason. They’ll look to avoid a second consecutive year of going down 0-2 to the Lightning in the playoffs.
If it weren’t for Vasilevskiy, the tilted ice could have worked drastically in Florida’s favour. Even if he showcased his form during the Toronto Maple Leafs series, Game 1 could have had a different result. Florida owned the first two periods but faltered in the third due to some penalty troubles. Staying disciplined will give the Panthers team better odds to carry the full 60 minutes and allow stars like Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov more time to work their magic.
Total Goals Scored – Under 6.5 (-105)
Both goalkeepers played exceptionally well until Tampa Bay took over the third period and worked their special teams. The matchups between the two were as important as predicted, as Tampa Bay’s third-liners scored two of the team’s four goals. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, the team’s fourth-line centre, notched the game-winning goal. It was a coaching clinic by Jon Cooper, who worked his bench in the third period to get the best result possible, and his experience in the postseason shined.
If this is the type of series we can expect to see through the next three to six games, the score should be relatively close throughout. Both Florida and Tampa Bay are excellent at clogging up the neutral zone and suffocating any chance to gain the line, and they’re both set up defensively to push the offense to the outside. It may come down to who has the better special teams, as the lineups are evenly matched from top to bottom. The under of 6.5 seems reasonable for Game 2, barring an explosion of offense from Florida’s top two lines.
Odds via Yahoo and BetMGM.
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