The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to advance to the next round when they take on the Florida Panthers on Monday. Tampa Bay defeated Florida on Saturday, 6-2, to take a 3-1 lead in the series.
Here you can find the best picks, news, and stats for this Central Division battle at the BB&T Center. Tampa Bay is the favorite at -116. This according to PointsBet Sportsbook, which puts Florida at -105 as the underdog.
Both Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev are listed as questionable for Tampa Bay. The Lightning will be without Anders Nilsson, Marian Gaborik, and Barclay Goodrow. Florida is without Aaron Ekblad.
First Period Surge Propels Lightning
Tampa Bay scored three first-period goals on their way to a 6-2 victory over Florida. Alex Killorn had a huge afternoon, scoring two goals and adding two assists. Nikita Kucherov also had a four-point performance, recording a goal and three assists. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 39 of 41 shots.
Through the first four games of the series, Tampa Bay is averaging 4.75 goals per game, second-best in the playoffs. Their 15.1% shooting percentage is best and they are second on the power-play at 46.7%. Kucherov has a ridiculous nine points through four games. Killorn and Victor Hedman each have seven points. Three players for Tampa Bay already have three goals.
The Lightning rank near the bottom in goals allowed per game at 3.25 and are 14th in penalty killing at 66.7%. Vasilevskiy has struggled a little bit against Florida, allowing 13 goals on 160 shots, a .919 save percentage. He has a 3.18 GAA and has allowed at least four goals and two of the four games.
Panthers Score Two on Power-Play, But Still Fall
The Florida power-play had a big night, connecting on two of seven opportunities, but that was not enough in the loss. Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and an assist, but Sergei Bobrovsky allowed five goals on just 14 shots before being pulled from the contest.
Florida is fourth in goals per game at 3.25 and is eighth and shooting percentage at 8.1%. The power-play has been outstanding, third at 33.3%. The Panthers are scoring goals, as Huberdeau leads the team with eight points. He is tied for the team lead in goals with two.
The Panthers have not been good defensively, allowing 4.75 goals per game, second-worst in the playoffs, and the penalty killing is at 53.3%, also second worst. The combination of Bobrovsky and Chris Driedger has been abysmal. Bobrovsky has been terrible, allowing 10 goals on 63 shots, a 5.33 GAA and a .841 save percentage.
- 4-1 in their last five playoff games as the favorite.
- 59-21 in their last 80 games when playing on one day’s rest.
- 3-7 in their last 10 games as the underdog.
- 2-9 in their last 11 playoff games as the underdog.
I will say it now – this series is over. There is no way Florida is going to battle back in this series, as I expect it to be over after Monday’s game. Tampa Bay is flying high right now, and even when the Panthers get some goals, they cannot stop them. The Lightning has scored at least five goals in three of the four games, and I expect them to blow out Florida in this game.
Pick: Take Tampa Bay at -160.
These teams have scored at least eight goals in three of the four games, including the last two. Scoring production has increased as the series is gone along, and I do not think we are going to see another low-scoring affair as we saw in Game 2, won by Tampa Bay 3-1. These teams have gone over in eight of the last 12 meetings in Florida and 35 of the last 51 meetings overall.
Pick: Go over 6.0 adds +100.