The 2020 Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Finals continue Sunday afternoon with Game 4 between the second-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning and the fifth-seeded New York Islanders.
The Lightning started the series with an 8-2 demolition of the Islanders. They increased the lead with a narrow 2-1 victory in Game 2, but the Islanders bounced back with a 5-3 win in Game 3 this past Friday, promising a great battle for the rest of the series.
Therefore, we bring you the best betting pick and tips for Sunday’s showdown at Rogers Place in Edmonton along with the latest odds update, so let’s take a closer look.
The Lightning will miss their captain Steven Stamkos, as the 30-year-old center is still unfit to play this postseason. Defenseman Jan Rutta is sidelined, too, while center Brayden Point is questionable to play after missing Game 3.
The Islanders might miss center Casey Cizikas.
The Lightning opened as -145 moneyline favorites on BetMGM, while the Islanders are listed as +132 dogs with a total of 5.5 goals. The over pays hefty +127.
The bookies favor Tampa over New York for the fourth straight contest. Considering the Lightning’s current form, that was pretty much expected.
What’s at Stake?
The Islanders did a great job last Friday, but they are still in a tough situation. If they lose Sunday, the Islanders will be on the verge of elimination.
The Lightning have dominated the first two games of this series. However, the Islanders regrouped after that embarrassing 8-2 defeat in the opener. They played well in the previous two games, particularly in Game 3, so the momentum is not on Tampa’s side anymore.
The Islanders finally found a way to score multiple times against Andrei Vasilevskiy. Tampa’s goalie has been terrific this postseason, going 12-4 with a terrific 1.98 GAA and a .929 save percentage, but he surrendered four goals on 31 shots last Friday.
Vasilevskiy will get another starting nod in Game 4, no doubt. He’s been guarding the cage for the Lightning in every game in the bubble so far.
On the other side, Semyon Varlamov turned aside 34 shots in Game 3, snapping his four-game losing streak. Varlamov is now 10-5 on the postseason, recording a 2.26 GAA and a .913 save percentage, and he should get the starting call Sunday for the Islanders.
Tampa missed Brayden Point a lot in Game 3, but the Lightning’s offense still helped the team to tie the clash in the third period. However, the Islanders made it 4-3 with 3:25 left on the clock, while the Lightning have allowed more than three goals for the first time since Game 5 of their first-round series against Columbus.
Both teams have been excellent defensively for most of the playoffs, but they still have a lot of offensive weapons, especially the Lightning.
We saw 10 goals in the opener and eight more in Game 3, so the under has surprisingly hit on two occasions thus far. The bookies set some very attractive odds on the over once again, but I’m staying away from the totals.
I’ve won last time, backing the Islanders to upset the odds, but I’m going with the Lightning in this one. Hopefully, Brayden Point will return, and the Lightning’s offense is arguably much better than the Islanders’, while Andrei Vasilevskiy will be fired up to bounce back from a mediocre performance in Game 3.
Vasilevskiy was a key factor in Tampa’s playoff run. On the other side, Varlamov hasn’t impressed over the last two weeks. The Lightning are 15-4 in their last 19 encounters with the Islanders.