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Lightning vs. Avalanche Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Picks: Colorado Looks to Hoist Cup

Lightning vs. Avalanche Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Picks: Colorado Looks to Hoist Cup
Nazem Kadri #91 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning to win 3-2 overtime in Game Four of the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final. Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice / Getty Images via AFP

Lord Stanley’s Cup will be in the building when the Colorado Avalanche try to close out the Tampa Bay Lightning at home on Friday night. Read on for our Lightning-Avalanche Game 5 picks and predictions.

Just one win away from hoisting the cup, the Avalanche pushed the Lightning to the brink on Wednesday night, taking a 3-1 series stranglehold with a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory. Avs forward Nazem Kadri made a dramatic return from a broken thumb to score the OT winner, while goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 37 saves to secure the win.

Can the Avalanche win their first title in more than two decades? Or will the resilient back-to-back champs live to play another day?

Here are my picks and predictions for Friday’s NHL Stanley Cup Final matchup between the Lightning and Avalanche (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5 star scale).

Lightning vs. Avalanche Game Info

Date/Time: Friday, June 24, 8 p.m. ET
TV: ABC, ESPN+, CBC, Sportsnet
Location: Ball Arena, Denver, CO

Lightning vs. Avalanche Odds Analysis

The Avalanche opened as a -155 favorite, and, with 98% of the cash coming in on them, that line has moved to -180 depending on the sportsbook. Those looking to back the underdogs can snatch them up as high as +146.

The goal total is set at six, with both the Over and Under paying out at -110 over at DraftKings.

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Lightning vs. Avalanche Picks

  • Avalanche (-170 via Caesars) ★★★
  • Under 6 (-115 via DraftKings) ★★★
  • Nathan MacKinnon to record 6+ shots on goal (+176 via FanDuel) ★★★

Lightning vs. Avalanche Predictions

Avalanche (-170)

Game 3 and the first period of Game 4 aside, the Avalanche have dominated the series. After seemingly skating through quicksand in the opening frame on Wednesday night, Colorado burst through in the final two periods before registering a blistering 69.23 Corsi for percentage in overtime. Sure, it appeared there were too many men on the ice during Kadri's OT winner, but that didn't seem to affect the play. The Avalanche outshot the Lightning 10-3 during the bonus period, slowly eroding Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy's defenses with wave after wave of five-star chances.

Colorado has controlled the puck and pace of play at 5-on-5, posting a superior Corsi for percentage, expected goals for, expected goals against, and expected goals for percentage. This control has manifested into a 3-1 series lead, and it'll carry them to the Stanley Cup on Friday night.

Under 6 (-115)

The two teams combined for five goals in Game 4, and I expect more of the same in Game 5. Vasilevskiy stood on his head, stopping 34 of 37 shots for a .919 save percentage, and most of his OT saves were of the spectacular, heart-stopping variety. Not to be outdone, Kuemper survived an early first-period onslaught and went on to stop 37 of 39 pucks for a .949 save percentage and 0.57 goals saved above average. With the cup hanging in the balance, I expect a tight-checking game with both goaltenders rising to the occasion, and less than six goals up on the scoreboard.

MacKinnon to record 6+ shots on goal (+176)

Nathan MacKinnon is launching frozen rubber at an alarming rate, averaging 5.78 shots per game in the postseason, including a ludicrous 6.13 shots per game in his last two series against the Edmonton Oilers and Lightning. The Avalanche superstar has topped six-plus shots 10 times in 18 playoff games, and I expect him to do it again on Friday night.

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Lightning-Avalanche picks made 6/23/2022 at 7:45 p.m. ET