While the Dallas Stars have already booked their place in the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals, the Eastern Conference Finals are not over yet. The Tampa Bay Lightning blew their first chance to eliminate the New York Islanders on Tuesday night, so Game 6 is set for Thursday, September 17, at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
We’re bringing you the best betting pick for Tuesday’s showdown between the Lightning and Islanders along with the latest odds update and all the betting trends and tips you need to know.
The Islanders will miss center Casey Cizikas and winger Tom Kuhnhackl, while the Lightning cannot count on center Steven Stamkos and defenseman Jan Rutta. Tampa hopes Brayden Point will be ready to go, as the Islanders have won both contests that the 24-year-old winger has missed in this series.
However, the Lightning head coach Jon Cooper didn’t want to say anything about Point’s status on Wednesday.
The Lightning are listed as favorites once more, and the bookies set the moneyline odds at -160 this time. The Islanders are +144 moneyline dogs on BetMGM, while the totals are set at 5.0 goals with the over at -130.
What’s at Stake?
For the second straight outing, the Islanders will play with their backs against the wall. On the other side, the Lightning have the second opportunity to clinch the spot in the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals, and they don’t want to get another one. Missing too many chances often leads to failure.
The previous contest was a proper nail-biter, as we saw double overtime after a 1-1 tie in regulation. The Islanders got a massive boost, for sure, as they were inferior for most of the time in Game 5.
The Lightning took 37 shots towards Semyon Varlamov on Tuesday, 13 more than the Islanders took towards Andrei Vasilevskiy. Both goaltenders did a great job, and Varlamov bounced back from a few disappointing displays.
Semyon is 11-6 on the postseason, posting a 2.17 GAA and a .918 save percentage. However, he’s only 2-5 in his previous seven starts, allowing 23 goals in that span. The Islanders are a defensive-minded team, and they lean on Varlamov a lot.
The Lightning have been playing some tough defense, too. These two teams have combined for 145 hits last time out. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been guarding the cage for Tampa all playoffs long, and he’s 13-5 with a 1.88 GAA and .930 save percentage.
Brayden Point’s absence in Game 5 was a huge blow for Tampa’s offense, as he’s scored three goals and four assists in three outings against the Islanders this series. If Point remains sidelined, the Lightning will have a difficult task against the diligent Islanders’ defense.
The Lightning are arguably a much better offensive team than the Islanders, but they’ve been struggling without Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point. I think Brayden’s status could be crucial for Thursday’s outcome, so keep tracking the latest news.
The goalies will be important, too, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a proper low-scoring affair. Varlamov will be fired up to replicate his Game 5 performance, while Vasilevskiy has been playing at the highest level since the start of the playoffs.
Hereof, I’m going with the under on the totals, and I would opt with a 5.5-goal line to avoid the push. If Brayden Point suits up, I’m taking the Lightning at moneyline odds, too. Tampa is 14-6 in its last 20 meetings with the Islanders.