Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders
13.06.2021. Stadium: Amalie Arena (Tampa).
Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders will play each other for the second straight season at the same playoff stage. Last year's encounter ended with a six-game winning streak for Tampa. Will the Islanders be able to take revenge? Let's choose a few bets on the first game of the 1/2 Finals of the Stanley Cup at once.
Tampa literally destroyed their division rivals
So far in this playoff run, the Lightning have no problems. John Cooper's team, ranked only third in the East Division at the end of the regular season, first defeated Florida in 6 games and then met no resistance from Carolina, ending the series in 5 matches. No surprise there. It was clear that Tampa was simply much stronger than both.
The reigning Stanley Cup champion hasn't gotten any worse in a year (a little less, but okay). What's more, Tampa has become even more powerful in some components. For example, the Lightning scored 15 power-play goals in the first two rounds, compared to only 17 in the entire last playoff run. Just killer execution. Also, the Lightning have become much more balanced in equal parts thanks to Steven Stamkos' shift to the second line. Whereas in the previous playoffs the leaders had a utility rating above +10, and, say, Johnson and Killorn each had a -6, now everyone is about even.
Andrei Vasilevskiy's game was even more frightening for the opponents. The Russian goalie finished the last playoffs with 1 shutout and now has 2. Both in games where Tampa closed the series. Needless to say, the Lightning are on their way to securing the title.
The Islanders have also improved noticeably.
Even after the deadline, it was clear that the New York Islanders were getting stronger. By trading Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac for draft picks, Barry Trotz's team has noticeably strengthened its roster. The rotation has become deeper and the hockey is more varied. Now the Islanders not only have a knack for winning but can also outplay their opponents offensively. In both the series with Pittsburgh (4-2) and the series with Boston (4-2), New York had games where they scored 5 or more pucks. The Islanders had only three such games in the entire postseason last playoff run.
The Islanders have become more powerful offensively. That's a fact. At the same time, the imbalance in the game has not changed - the Islanders can still fight back on defense, making it as difficult as possible for their opponents to create scoring chances and even penetrate into their own zone. Barry Trotz used a rotation at the last line early in the playoffs, Ilya Samsonov was very good, but in the last meetings of the series with Boston, Semyon Varlamov returned in goal. Having two goalies who can effectively rotate between them is a big plus. If Vasilevskiy doesn't go well, which happens for the Tampa goalie, there's no one to replace him. So the Islanders can play on that as well.
Experts betting tips
The New York Islanders are a very strong team. They are almost the worst match-up for Tampa. Yes, the Lightning have noticeably improved compared to the previous championship season, but the Islanders have also improved. One thing is clear so far - the fight will be incredibly hard. Let's start the series with the following prediction - a draw in regulation time. Both will want to start with a win, so they may not solve everything in 60 minutes.
- A Tie in regular time with odds of about 4.40;
- Total of less than 5.5 for about 2.20;
- New York Islanders Puck Line over 0.5 with an index of around 3.25.