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NHL picks: Panthers vs. Lightning, Penguins vs. Islanders

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

May 20th, 2021

Stanley Cup quarterfinal action continues with a four-pack of intriguing playoff games this Thursday. We’ll take a look at two offering solid wagering opportunities.

First, it’s the battle of the Sunshine State, with the Florida Panthers looking to climb out of a 2-0 series hole as they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning. Then we’ll look at a pivotal Game 3 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning, 6:30 p.m. ET, USA

Thu, May 20 2021, 10:30 PM

TB Lightning

Moneyline

-143

Puck Line

-1.5

Total

O 5.5

FLA Panthers

Moneyline

+120

Puck Line

+1.5

Total

U 5.5

The Lightning did not thrash the Panthers in Game 1 or Game 2 of this series, but it had to be disheartening for Florida to drop both of those home games after going 20-8 straight-up in the regular season at BB&T Center. Bettors should expect Tampa to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series at Amalie Arena on Thursday.

The Lightning were fifth in the regular season in goals per game at home this season, while the Panthers were 17th in the corresponding defensive category. Tampa accomplished this without Nikita Kucherov, who missed the entire 56-game campaign but has since seamlessly re-integrated himself into the Lightning lineup, as he’s notched two goals and two assists early in this series.

The Bolts, led by Norris contender Victor Hedman and Vezina candidate Andrei Vasilevskiy, were also sixth in home defense this season. Florida was second in road scoring this year, so while they won’t go quietly, they will likely be unable to keep up with Tampa.

The Over is 12-5 in the last 17 meetings between these two teams, including a 6-1 run in the last seven games played at Amalie Arena.

NHL picks: Lightning -143, Over 5.5 goals


Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders, 7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN

Thu, May 20 2021, 11:00 PM

NY Islanders

Moneyline

-118

Puck Line

-1.5

Total

O 5.5

PIT Penguins

Moneyline

-104

Puck Line

+1.5

Total

U 5.5

The Islanders managed a split of the first two games of this series with the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena, which could prove huge in a matchup featuring two dominant home clubs.

New York went 21-7 straight-up at home this year, while Pittsburgh was a mediocre 15-13 straight-up on the road. Not only did the Isles play their trademark stellar defense in their own building (third in goals allowed per game), they also provided offensive fireworks, tallying 3.54 goals per game as the host team, good for fourth in the NHL.

The Penguins were 23rd in road defense in the regular season, highlighted by a dead-last ranking in penalty kill percentage.

Islanders forwards Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Kyle Palmieri, who combined for five points in Game 1, should get back on the board after getting blanked in Game 2.

NHL pick: Islanders -118

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