2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Lightning vs. Islanders odds, picks & predictions for Game 6
The Tampa Bay Lightning can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final with a win tonight over the New York Islanders, as these teams clash in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.
The Islanders managed to stave off elimination two nights ago with a double overtime victory, despite only firing 24 shots on goal through four and a half periods of hockey. The Bolts seem to be on the front foot heading into Game 6, but can they close it out, or will this series go to a Game 7?
Here are the bets we like for tonight’s game.
Fri, September 18 2020, 12:18 AM
New York Islanders
Tampa Bay Lightning
Puck line full time
The Lightning held a distinct territorial edge in play in Game 5 against the Islanders, but they just couldn’t beat netminder Semyon Varlamov when it counted.
The Lightning recorded 84 shot attempts, 37 of which got through to the net, which is not nearly as many as you’d expect for a game that was decided in the fifth period. That’s a credit to Varlamov for making those stops, as well as for his teammates blocking shots and the defensive structure brought in by head coach Barry Trotz.
By comparison, the Islanders only had 64 shot attempts and only 24 of those actually tested Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
But we’ve seen in these playoffs that teams that hold a territorial edge eventually find a way to punch through stingy defensive structures and great goaltending. If the Islanders try to force a Game 7 by trying to fend off the Lightning’s offensive attack for most of the night, it should end with Tampa Bay getting enough production to put this game and series away.
Expect a close game, but the Lightning will prevail by at least two goals in the end.
Anytime goal scorer
Nikita Kucherov has been buzzing in this series, with points in four of five games. He was held off the score sheet entirely in Game 5 despite a game-high five shots on goal.
Kucherov had 14 shot attempts that night. He was around the net and creating opportunities but just couldn’t get one through Varlamov. A prolific scorer with two 40-goal seasons to his resume, Kucherov’s shooting percentage in these playoffs has fallen to 9.4% from his career average of 14.9%.
After three straight games without a goal, a potential indicator to burying one tonight is that he has been a constant threat offensively. He’s had 33 shot attempts combined over the last three games, so if he is getting his chances, it’s likely a matter of time before he converts on at least one of those.
He will, of course, draw the attention of the Islanders when Trotz formulates a game plan to try to shut down the Lightning, but he has continued to funnel pucks to the net with regularity, and that should bode well for this market tonight.