Carolina vs. Tampa Bay
Arena: P.N.C. Arena (Raleigh, USA)
Game 1. The score in the series is 0-0.
The Tampa Bay hockey team has beaten Carolina at the P.N. Arena in only one of four head-to-head meetings this season. Will John Cooper's team be able to win on such a tough road trip in the upcoming battle? Our prediction: the Lightning will be closer to success this time!
Carolina current form
Carolina had some problems, but still made it to the Central Division finals. In the series with Nashville, things were very easy for Rod Brind'Amour's charges, as they overlooked their opponent in the first two meetings, winning them 5-2 and 3-0. It seemed that there would be no intrigue in this confrontation, but the Predators decided otherwise, winning their two home games in overtime - 5-4 m 4-3. Now already Hurricanes had to become more active, but it was not so easy to do it, so the fifth and sixth games also passed the limits of three periods, but now hockey players of Carolina were stronger - 3-2 and 4-3, getting a pass to the next round of the Stanley Cup.
Tampa Bay current form
Tampa Bay is the reigning Stanley Cup champion. As befits a champion, the Lightning had a poor regular season, finishing in third place in the Central Division standings. It seemed that they would have problems in the playoffs, in addition to the fact that they were facing the progressive Florida State, but in reality things turned out to be much easier. Yes, the Panthers hung tough and even managed to win two games but in the remaining four games John Cooper's team was stronger by a combined score of 18-6. The main thing is that Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos returned to the lineup, who gained excellent form and were leaders on the ice, making a huge contribution to the team's success.
Expert betting tips
Carolina and Tampa Bay each had four wins in their head-to-head encounters in the regular season, which kind of speaks to their equal level, but we should not forget that Nikita Kucherov did not participate in those games, and now he will take the ice, as well as the top scorer in the current playoffs, and the other players of the «Lightning» are in great shape now. Yes, the Hurricanes also finished their series in six games, but even with Nashville they suffered a lot and now they will have to fight with a much more powerful team. As a result, it begs the bet on the victory of Tampa Bay in the match with odds of about 1.91.
Carolina and Tampa Bay are teams that have a fantastic offensive line, but they struggled against each other in the regular season, scoring only 33 pucks (4.13 average per game) in eight meetings. Fortunately, in the playoffs, the teams began to play noticeably more aggressively on offense. The Hurricanes scored 34 goals (5.67 average per game) in six games, while the Lightning had 40 power-play goals (6.67 average per game) over the same distance. Based on this, we would expect the total to be over 5.5 pucks at odds close to 1.80.
Carolina and Tampa Bay are two teams that like to storm out at the start to gain an advantage that allows them to play on the score sheet and build on the lead when possible. Rod Brind'Amour's team will try to get off to a strong start, and the Lightning always does that, so we should expect an early goal. In this situation, it is worth looking at the bet that by the end of the 10th minute there will be a total of more than 0.5 pucks by Tampa Bay at odds of 1.55.