The Tampa Bay Lightning face the Colorado Avalanche in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning won Game Three but after losing Game Four in overtime, they trail in the series 3-1. The Avalanche meanwhile, are one win away from winning the Stanley Cup and look to hoist the trophy on their home ice in the upcoming game.
Lightning hope offense can keep series aliveThe Lightning have played well in the series but are one game away from losing the series and hope the offense can step up after scoring only two goals in Game Four. Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Ondrej Palat have scored three goals and five assists in the series while defenseman Victor Hedman has scored a goal and three assists from the point but the rest of the offense has struggled. The hope is that Anthony Cirelli, Pat Maroon, and Nick Paul can step up in Game Five as the three skaters have combined for five goals and two assists in the series but only scored one goal in Game Four.
The offense struggled in the recent game but the defense has played poorly throughout the series, allowing 16 goals in the series thus far. Victor Hedman and Jan Rutta have stepped up as the top pairing, controlling the center of the defensive zone and limiting shots on the net but the rest of the unit has struggled, allowing the Avalanche to generate open shots on the net at will. In addition, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy is having a difficult series, saving only 128 of the 144 shots faced.
Avalanche hope offense fuels series victoryThe Avalanche are one win away from winning the Stanley Cup and have been carried by an offense that has scored 16 goals in the series. Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Artturi Lehkonen have scored two goals and 11 assists to lead the top line but the entire offense has stepped up. Valeri Nichushkin, Gabriel Landeskog, and Andre Burakovsky have combined for eight goals and three assists to carry the middle two forward lines while defenseman Cale Makar has added two goals and three assists from the point to put the offense over the top.
The offense has been great but the defense has also stepped up, shutting out the Lightning in Game Two and allowing only two goals in Game Four. Cale Makar and Devon Toews have stepped up as the top pairing, controlling the puck in the defensive zone and turning defense into offense but the rest of the unit has also stepped up with Josh Manson, Bowen Byram, and the rest of the defense creating turnovers in the defensive zone and limiting shots on the net. In addition, goaltender Darcy Kuemper looks to build off a Game Four performance where he saved 37 of the 39 shots faced.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Lightning are hoping to extend this series and should put together their best performance of the series as a result. The problem is that the Avalanche have controlled this series in all three zones and with the Stanley Cup in the building, they look to close out the series on their home ice. The Avalanche, who have averaged 4.5 goals per game in the playoffs, should constantly find the back of the net with Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and the rest of the forward unit establishing a strong offensive zone presence and creating open shots with great puck movement in the offensive zone to catch the Lightning defense out of position. The Avalanche should also build off a Game Four where they only allowed two goals and limit the Lightning offense with Cale Makar, Devon Toews, and the rest of the defensive unit forcing turnovers in the neutral zone and defensive zone while limiting shots on the net, allowing goaltender Darcy Kuemper to step up and make plenty of big saves in the net. The Avalanche should win Game Five to win the Stanley Cup Final with a strong game on their home ice.
Full-Game Total Pick
Game Four was a low-scoring one, indicating that the rest of the games in the series are going to be low-scoring. However, both teams have been carried by their offenses and both teams should find the back of the net throughout the game. The Lightning, who have scored eight goals in their last two games, should constantly find the back of the net with Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and the rest of the forward unit creating open shots with quick passes in the offensive zone while defenseman Victor Hedman generates shots on the net from the point. The Avalanche, who have scored 16 goals in the series, should run up the score with Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, and the rest of the forward unit crashing the net on the rush and overwhelming the Lightning defense with speed in all three zones while creating open shots with great puck movement in the offensive zone, allowing Cale Makar to pick apart the Lightning defense from the blue line. The Over should cover in a high-scoring game controlled by both offenses.