It is true that some BetOnline customers had left the Tampa Bay Lightning for dead after the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals.
But you now have to wonder what those people are thinking now. There was obviously a school of thought that seemed to dictate that the Lightning, after being beaten 7-0 in game 2, would come roaring back to extract some revenge over the Colorado Avalanche and same some face in Game 3, not to mention keep themselves alive in the series.
Well, now they have a chance to make it two games apiece, as they line up for Game 4, slated to begin at 8:15 PM ET at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
Let's put it this way - the Bolts seemed to put forward much more of an effort in Game 3 than they had in Game 2, and the early parts of Game 1, when they fell behind early. With 32 shots on goal, they were able to exert more pressure than they had previously.
For them, the puck just happened to go in the net more. Before this shindig got underway, the perception was that even though Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz had done very well in goal for the Avalanche, they did not have the cachet of Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was a Vezina Trophy finalist.
Vasilevskiy now has 96 NHL playoff starts, and he is kind of legendary for his exploits in the deciding games of seven-game series.
But he was rattled in the early stages of Game 1, allowing two early goals. And he was completely overwhelmed in Game 2, as he sustained seven Colorado goals, and would permit himself to be taken out, as Kuemper was in Game 3 when things got a little hairy for him.
Vasilevskiy stopped 37 of 39 shots and led Tampa Bay to the 6-2 victory which must give them an awful lot of confidence coming into Wednesday night's game.
Here are the Stanley Cup Finals betting odds for Game 4, as they are currently listed at BetOnline:
Tampa Bay Lightning -110
Colorado Avalanche +100
Over 6 Goals +104
Under 6 Goals -115
And on the puck line.....
Lightning +1.5 Goals -260
Avalanche -1.5 Goals +220
There is a case to be made for either team here. Don't lose sight of the fact that the Avs had more shots on goal in Game 3 (39) than they had in either of the first two games. And their Corsi figure in the 5-on-5 was 60.5%. Considering that the league leaders (Florida) had 56.6%, Colorado did pretty good from that standpoint.
Tampa Bay has not done well on the power play. They scored on Monday, but they have succeeded on only one of their last 15 tries. Brayden Point is not likely to play. Nikita Kucherov will probably be in action, but after he got nailed on a cross check in the third period of Game 3, we don't know how close he'll be to 100%.
The Lightning's case begins with Vasilevskiy, who has compiled a 1.74 GAA at home in the playoffs. And they did what they needed to do in Game 3, which was to start scoring goals. Now maybe the confidence has a carry-over effect.
But we do have some of our own confridence - in the Avs' ability to press the action and take advantage of a Tampa Bay backline unit that still isn't satisfying us. And they aren't necessarily any slower out there just because they lost a game. At the same time, maybe the Colorado goaltending is showing some "shakiness." The total in their road games during these playoffs is an average of eight goals.
So frankly, we're expecting some scoring. And this number looks reasonable. So it is OVER the total of six (+104).
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