The Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning continue their Central Division second-round battle, as the 2021 Stanley Cup betting action goes on Thursday, June 3. The Lightning won the first two games of this best-of-seven series as slight road favorites and are listed as -153 favorites to win Game 3 Thursday on the home ice.
The Hurricanes are +138 moneyline dogs with a total of 5.5 goals on DraftKings Sportsbook. They split an eight-game regular-season series against Tampa, but the Canes couldn’t find a way to grab an important home victory over the Lightning in the postseason.
Carolina has to start scoring some goals against Andrei Vasilevskiy
The Carolina Hurricanes took 38 shots towards Andrei Vasilevskiy in Game 1 while allowing 30 towards their goalie. They outshoot the Lightning by far in Game 2 (32-15) and suffered an identical 2-1 defeat as in the opener.
Jake Bean converted a power-play opportunity in Game 1, netting his first goal of the postseason, while Andrei Svechnikov scored in Game 2 to increase his tally to two goals this postseason. The Canes eliminated Nashville in six games in the previous round, scoring 22 goals in the process. They had the 11th-highest scoring offense in the NHL this past regular season, tallying 3.13 goals per game.
Alex Nedeljkovic has guarded the cage in the previous two games and should get another starting call Thursday at Tampa. He’s 4-4 with a 2.18 GAA and .920 save percentage this postseason, as Nedeljkovic took full advantage of Petr Mrazek’s absence due to a thumb injury. Alex went 15-5-3 last regular season while recording a terrific 1.90 GAA and .932 save percentage.
Tampa Bay aims for its fourth straight victory
The reigning Stanley Cup champions lean on a top-notch goalie in Andrei Vasilevskiy, and the 2019 Vezina Trophy winner has been outstanding as of late. The Lightning eliminated Florida in six games in the previous round, and Vasilevskiy recorded a shutout in a 4-0 victory over the Panthers in Game 6.
Andrei is 6-2 on the postseason, tallying a 2.23 GAA with an impressive .939 save percentage. He was 31-10-1 with a 2.21 GAA and .925 save percentage this past regular season.
Brayden Point and Barclay Goodrow scored in Game 1 against the Canes, while Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli found the net in Game 2. Tampa was scoring 3.21 goals per game during the regular season, enough for the eighth-most in the NHL. The Lightning have netted 24 goals in the Panthers series while yielding 17 in a return.
The Hurricanes have covered a 1.5-goal spread in each of the first two games against the Lightning, and I think they’ll do it once more Thursday. However, their puckline odds sit at -190, and with +138 moneyline odds on Carolina, I have to take the visitors to win and get back into this series.
If you like to follow betting trends, Tampa is your team here. Still, the Canes already beat Tampa 4-1 on the road back in April, and with so much on the table in this clash, I think there’s a value on Carolina. Of course, it’s a tough wager, but the Canes should finally get things going offensively, while Andrei Vasilevskiy might slow down just for one night.
Pick: Take Carolina Hurricanes at +138
The under is 10-1-1 in the last 12 encounters between the Canes and Bolts, and I will stick with this betting trend when it comes to the totals. Also, six of their last seven meetings produced fewer than six goals in total.
Both Alex Nedeljkovic and Andrei Vasilevskiy have played at the highest level so far, so taking the under seems like a logical choice.
Pick: Go under 5.5 goals at -126