Lightning vs Avalanche Stanley Cup Final Game 2 Picks and Predictions: Tampa Bay Avoids 2-0 Hole

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The Colorado Avalanche outplayed the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-3 overtime victory, but the Bolts were competitive despite not playing their best hockey.

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For Saturday’s rematch, Tampa opened up shorter on the moneyline than it did on Wednesday. If Andrei Vasilevskiy can start sharper, this calmer and more experienced Tampa team could be heading into Game 3 with the series tied at one apiece.

We bring you our free NHL picks and predictions for Lightning vs. Avalanche.

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Lightning vs Avalanche Game 2 odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

The Avalanche opened as -175 favourites in the opener before closing at -145. They have opened at -160 on the moneyline for Game 2 and quickly moved to -155 after opening.

The total is also showing some discrepancies from Game 1 where it closed at -120 to the Over 6. On Thursday morning, the total opened at 6 but shaded five points to the Under despite a 4-3 overtime final on Wednesday.

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Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until puck drop and be sure to check out the full NHL odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Lightning vs Avalanche Game 2 predictions

Predictions made on 6/16/2022 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

Lightning vs Avalanche Game 1 info

Location: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
Date: Saturday, June 18, 2022
Puck drop: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: ABC, Sportsnet

Lightning vs Avalanche Stanley Cup Final odds (COL leads 1-0)

Lightning: +220
Avalanche: -270

Lightning vs Avalanche Game 2 betting preview

Key injuries

Lightning: No injuries to report.
Avalanche: Nazem Kadri F (Questionable), Andrew Cogliano F (Questionable).

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Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Lightning vs Avalanche head-to-head record since 2016-17

Lightning: 6-5 SU, 36 goals for.
Avalanche: 5-6 SU, 34 goals for.

Betting trend to know

The Lightning are 4-0 straight-up in their last four Saturday games. Find more NHL betting trends for Lightning vs. Avalanche.

Lightning vs Avalanche Game 2 picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favourite pick across all markets.

Moneyline analysis

The Tampa Bay Lightning got off to a terrible start in the opener of the Stanley Cup Final as Andrei Vasilevskiy let in some uncharacteristically soft goals in the first frame. The Bolts did claw back into the game and force overtime thanks to some shaky goaltending from Darcy Kuemper but the biggest takeaway for us from Game 1 is that Tampa Bay had a chance to win despite a poor effort.

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The xGoal and high-danger chance battles were easily won by the Avs, but Tampa still found a way to erase a multi-goal lead and did so with just 23 shots and 1.71 xGoals. Colorado starting goalie Darcy Kuemper was making his first start since the third round in which he exited with an upper-body injury. He had posted a mediocre sub-.900 save percentage before hitting the shelf and looked everything of an unreliable goalie on Wednesday.

Kuemper finished with a -0.75 goals saved above expected and it wouldn’t surprise us if he didn’t finish the series. Wednesday’s overtime victory was the fifth straight game the netminder has failed to finish with a save percentage above .900.

The Avs have the more explosive offence and the better speed and transition game in the neutral zone, but so did the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers who the Bolts eliminated in the earlier rounds.

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After the game, Colorado coach Jared Bednar said he spent a lot of time watching the Maple Leafs in their seven-game series with the Lightning as he “sees a lot of similarities in the Leafs’ players and personnel to ours”.

The only problem with that is that Jon Cooper made great adjustments to take away the Leafs’ speed and transition game at even strength. Tampa has the experience and the skill to do it again with the Avs.

Vasilevskiy settled in after a rough three-goal first and kept the Bolts in the game by stopping everything he saw in the second and third periods. With the Lightning proving they can score even with very few chances, a sharper Big Cat early on in Game 2 could have Tampa Bay returning home with a 1-1 series.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy in 2022 Playoffs Game 1 1-3, 3.99 GAA, .884 Save % Game 2 – 7 11-3, 1.90 GAA, .939 Save % — Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) June 16, 2022

If this is going to be a high-scoring series, Tampa can go toe-to-toe as it did with the Leafs but if the Lightning can slow down the faster Avalanche, the advantage certainly swings with the team with the better netminder.

The books have also picked up on this as the Bolts opened at +150 in Game 1 (closed at +125) and opened Game 2 at +140 (now at +135). Colorado dominated Game 1 but somehow needed OT to get the win. That could go a long way in the Tampa dressing room.

Tampa dropped its first game to the Maple Leafs, 5-0, and to the Rangers, 6-2, before bouncing back in both Game 2s.

Prediction: Lightning moneyline (+135 at bet365)

Covers NHL betting analysis

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Over/Under analysis

Under backers were left shaking their collective heads after Game 1’s four-goal first period. The goals weren’t even quality ones as Vasilevskiy gave up two softies early including his first five-hole goal allowed in the postseason. It was an uncharacteristic first frame for the visitors who settled in after the first intermission. The live total after the first frame was 8.5 leaning to the Over.

Despite the Lightning being able to shut the door in the second and third periods, Kuemper couldn’t on the other end and allowed two quick goals in the second — one on a 2-on-2 and the other on a weak wrister from the point. Kuemper looked awkward on the Lightning’s first goal, too.

Trusting a goalie who has 3.53 goals against average and a .853 SV% over his last five playoff games is asking a lot for the Under to cash. Colorado has shown it can make up for its netminder’s sub-par play offensively but in saying that, we have to lean on the Over in Game 2.

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We are well aware of recency bias and were on the Under in Game 1, but if Tampa can get goals past the Colorado starter this easily, we could easily see another series like Tampa vs. Toronto. That series saw the Over hit in five straight games rather easily after the opening contest.

Both clubs can get some scoring on the third lines as Artturi Lehkonen is on the wing with Darren Helm and Logan O’Connor for the Avs while the Bolts have the better offensive depth as their third line currently features Brayden Point in the middle between Nick Paul and Ross Colton. Both bluelines also have elite scoring in Victor Hedman and Cale Makar.

Ultimately, this total hinges on the play of Kuemper in net and after Game 1’s performance, we can’t trust him to shut down the Bolts — even with the minimal amount of shots faced.

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Prediction: Over 6 (-105 at bet365)

Best bet

After Game 1, we have a much better understanding of each team’s lineups which is massive when considering prop plays, as a lot of it has to do with opportunities.

Colorado’s Nazem Kadri was back at practice on Thursday but he just picked up a stick for the first time after thumb surgery so we’re bearish that he’ll suit up Saturday night.

J.T. Compher is centreing the second line and should be a target for prop players. Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and an assist Wednesday while also recording a team-high six shots on net and is also another good Av to target. However, we’re going across the ice and getting a first-line winger for a very reasonable -125 at Caesars to record a point.

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Ondrej Palat currently has 17 points through 18 playoff games this postseason and finds himself playing with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov on the Bolts’ top line. He had a beautiful 2-on-2 goal in Game 1 as Kucherov did the hard work and Palat just had to direct the puck in. Since May 30, no NHL player has more points than the Tampa winger at nine through seven games (five goals, four assists).

He had the team’s best xGoals at 5-on-5 on Wednesday and saw plenty of time on the second power-play unit. If the Lightning are going to get back into the series, the unsung Palat will be a big part of it. His linemates have point totals of 0.5 at -150 and -170 to the Over.

Pick: Ondrej Palat Over 0.5 points (-125)

Stats from Covers, Moneypuck, Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com

NHL parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NHL Lightning vs. Avalanche picks, you could win $72.49 on a $10 bet?

Use our NHL parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

This article originally appeared on Covers.com, read the full article here

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