The Tampa Bay Lightning take a big lead into Game 3 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night. They will look to take full command of this series and get just a step away from their first Stanley Cup Finals since 2015 when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks.
On the other side, the New York Islanders haven’t been in the conference finals since 1993. They’ve had some brilliant displays over the last few weeks, and the Islanders certainly believe they can cut the deficit on Friday.
We should see a thrilling battle in Game 3, so here are all the betting tips and trends for the Lightning versus Islanders showdown along with the latest odds update and betting prediction.
The Lightning has some serious problems ahead of Friday’s game. They already without center Steven Stamkos and defenseman Jan Rutta due to injuries, while center Brayden Point got hurt in Game 2 and is questionable to play Friday.
Furthermore, winger Alex Killorn is suspended for Game 3, but Point’s eventual absence would be a massive blow for Tampa. Brayden is the team’s top scorer with eight goals and 23 points in 15 appearances.
The Islanders should come in full strength, as center Brock Nelson is expected to play after suffering a couple of tough hits in the previous clash. Nelson scored seven goals in 18 postseason games.
Tampa Bay is a -153 moneyline favorite on DraftKings at the moment, while New York is a +138 underdog to win straight up. The totals are set exactly five goals on the same platform, and the over pays -130, while the under pays +118.
The Lightning won the opener 8-2 as -160 favorites with a total of five goals. The bookies decided to stick with a 5-goal line in Game 2, and the Lightning beat the Islanders 2-1 as -165 favorites last Wednesday.
What’s at Stake?
The Islanders are already in a hole, and they can not make it any deeper. On the other side, the Lightning have a big chance to shake their rivals up.
At least, the Islanders fought bravely on Wednesday after that ugly loss in the opener. Now, they have to prove their worth despite huge pressure on their shoulders.
New York has dropped two straight games for the second time this postseason, while the Lightning are riding a six-game win streak. It’s obvious who’s at a better spot.
The Lightning destroyed the Islanders in the opener, scoring literally at will. They netted eight times on 34 shots, and the Islanders had to switch goalies after just 11 minutes of play in the 1st period.
In the next 49 minutes, Semyonov Varlamov allowed five goals but still deserved to start Game 2. Varlamov saved 19 of 21 shots last Wednesday and dropped to 9-5 with a 2.21 GAA on the postseason, but he should get another start in Game 3.
Andrei Vasilevskiy will guard the cage for the Lightning, for sure. He’s been between the pipes for Tampa in every single game in the bubble, tallying a 12-3 record with a 1.86 GAA and a .932 save percentage.
Vasilevskiy stopped 22 of 24 shots in the opening contest and 27 of 28 in Game 2. The 26-year-old Russian hasn’t allowed more than a couple of goals since August 26 when the Lightning started their winning streak with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins.
Interestingly, Vasilevskiy hasn’t recorded a shutout this postseason even though he’s been outstanding in almost every game. The Islanders have to find the way how to score more goals against Vasilevskiy and Tampa’s defense, while their defense shouldn’t allow one more embarrassment in this series.
Hereof, I’m backing the Islanders to upset the odds in Game 3 and win it straight up at +138. They are a good defensive team, while Varlamov has a couple of shutouts this postseason and will be fired up to snap his four-game losing streak.
The Lightning will be short-handed upfront if Brayden Point doesn’t suit up, but if you like to follow betting trends, you should know that Tampa Bay is 14-4 in its last 18 meetings with the Islanders. The under is 8-7-3 in that span.