Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#7253 Tampa Bay Lightning vs.
#7254 Florida Panthers
Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at 7:00pm EDT
BB&T Center, Sunrise
Written by Mike Fink

The Tampa Bay Lightning face the Florida Panthers in Game One of the second round after splitting the four regular-season matchups. The Lightning were trailing 3-2 in the First Round but defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in back-to-back games to advance to the Second Round. The Panthers trailed in the First Round 2-1 to the Washington Capitals but won three games in a row to secure the series. The Lightning are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Stanley Cup titles since the New York Islanders in the 1980s while the Panthers are hoping to snap the Presidents' Trophy curse and win their first-ever Stanley Cup and the upcoming game and series should be a great one.

Lightning hope offense can carry them in Game One

The Lightning advance in the First Round with their offense stepping up and scoring 23 goals in the series, including four goals in Game Six. Steven Stamkos, Anthony Cirelli, and Nikita Kucherov led the top line with five goals and eight assists but the rest of the offense stepped up as well. Ross Colton, Brayden Point, and Ondrej Palat have combined for eight goals and six assists while Nick Paul stepped up on the later forward shift and scored two goals in Game Seven to help the team win the series. Moreover, defensemen Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh have added three goals and seven assists from the point to open up the offense.

While the Lightning defense struggled, allowing 24 goals in the First Round, the unit stepped up in Game Seven, allowing only one goal, and hopes to continue to play well in the upcoming series. Victor Hedman and Erik Cernak have done a great job leading the top pairing, creating turnovers in the defensive zone, and limiting shots on the net, but the rest of the defense also stepped up in Game Seven with Ryan McDonagh, Mikhail Sergachev, and Cal Foote playing well in the defensive zone and limiting the Maple Leafs from finding open shots on the net. The hope is that goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy can bounce back in the Second Round as he put together a.897 save percentage and a 3.04 goals-against average on 214 shots in the previous series.

Panthers offense looks to carry them in Second Round

The Panthers have been carried by their offense all season and the unit helped propel them to the Second Round, scoring 20 goals in the six-game series. Carter Verhaeghe has led the offense with six goals and six assists while Aleksander Barkov and Claude Giroux have helped lead the top line scoring five goals and eight assists combined but the rest of the offense has stepped up as well. Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, and Jonathan Huberdeau have combined for four goals and five assists while defenseman Aaron Ekblad has opened up the offense with a goal and four assists.

The offense carried the Panthers but the defense also stepped up, allowing only eight goals in the last three games. MacKenzie Weegar and Gustav Forsling have led the top pairing but the rest of the unit has stepped up as well with Radko Gudas, Aaron Ekblad, and the rest of the defensemen forcing turnovers in the defensive zone and controlling the puck to help turn defense into instant offense. In addition, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky looks to build off a strong First Round where he had a.906 save percentage and a 2.79 goals-against average on 180 shots.

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The Panthers are on a three-game winning streak and look to win Game One on their home ice after finishing the season with the best record in the NHL. The problem is that the Lightning are coming off back-to-back wins and look to carry the momentum into the Second Round against a team they defeated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. The Lightning should pile on the goals with Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and the rest of the forward unit establishing a strong offensive zone presence and creating open shots with quick passes to the face-off circles and the slot. The Lightning also look to build off a one-goal game and limit the Panthers' offense with Victor Hedman, Erik Cernak, and the rest of the defensive unit creating turnovers at the blue line and limiting the Panthers' speed on the rush while forcing difficult shots on the net, allowing goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to make plenty of big saves. The Lightning should win Game One and provide great odds in the process as road Underdogs.

Prediction: Lightning (+140)

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Both the Panthers and Lightning have drastically improved defensively since the start of the playoffs, making it easy to think the upcoming game will be a low-scoring one. However, both teams have been carried by their offenses and both units look to step up and find the back of the net throughout the game. The Panthers, look to build off a four-goal game and constantly find the back of the net with Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Bennett, and the rest of the forward unit overwhelming the Panthers defense with speed in all three zone and creating open shots with great passes in the offensive zone while Aaron Ekblad generates shots on the net from the blue line. The Lightning, who scored 23 goals in the First Round, should run up the score with Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and the rest of the forward unit establishing a strong offensive zone presence while creating open shots with great puck movement near the net as Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh pick apart the Panthers defense from the point. The Over should cover in a high-scoring game controlled by both offenses.

Prediction: Over 6.5
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Written By Mayer Fink , "Mike Fink"

Mike Fink is a sports writer and a passionate football fan. After graduating from college, Fink picked up the passion he had since being a young child in following and covering all things sports and we are very excited to have him as a part of the StatSalt team. In recent weeks, Mike started a podcast which you can find on Spotify, called "The Mike and Grover Show" and it discusses all things football. He covers all forms of sports betting and also bets on all of the plays he gives out. Mike would advise hockey betting since the odds give you great payouts "Hockey is built to bet the Money Line Underdogs. Be sure and follow him on a daily basis. 
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