Lightning vs. Hurricanes Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 2 Preview

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Lightning vs. Hurricanes Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 2 Preview
Blake Coleman #20 of the Tampa Bay Lightning tangles with Vincent Trocheck #16 of the Carolina Hurricanes. Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP

It’s a top billing on Tuesday’s NHL betting card as the Carolina Hurricanes get set to host the defending Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning in game 2 of their second round series.

As it is, the hosts are facing a must-win game after dropping the opener to the Bolts. Another loss would send the Hurricanes to Tampa Bay facing a 0-2 hole, which would be tantamount to disaster. Well, perhaps, it won’t be as dramatic as that but it would be akin to falling into a sink hole nonetheless. Getting behind in a series with a championship pedigree team is hardly an ideal situation and its bound to make life difficult for the Hurricanes, if not cut their postseason bid short.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Tuesday, June 01, 2021 – 07:30 PM EDT at PNC Arena

Lightning Win Game 1

The Tampa Bay Lightning know a thing or two about winning, even when they’re not playing at their best. Game 1 wasn’t pretty but the Bolts nevertheless emerged triumphant in a 2-1 win over the Hurricanes. Thus, they take the initiative in their second round series on the road and gain confidence ahead of the next game.

It was a hard-fought contest and a narrow win that could have gone either way to be frank. The Lightning only beat the Hurricanes by a goal thanks to Andrei Vasilevskiy’s stoic goaltending. He was practically impenetrable as the Hurricanes, who weren’t short of chances, simply couldn’t crack the Russian’s resolve. Barclay Goodrow and Brayden Point scored, but the Lightning offense didn’t generate as many opportunities as their counterparts did. Vasilevskiy saved 37 of 38 shots for a .974 save percentage.

Seeing as game 1 was poised on a knife edge for the better part of three periods, odds makers are taking a rather undistinguishable view of game 2 in the betting to the point of smacking of coyness. These teams are barely a hair apart on the NHL betting lines, implying the game is literally up for grabs.

Clearly winning the opener hasn’t ingratiated the Bolts into a commanding position. In fact, quite the opposite as they enter game 2 as the slight underdogs in the betting. Depending on the preferred sports betting outlet, the Bolts are trading just shy of EVEN money (+100) either way (i.e. in minus and plus money). For instance, BetOnline offers a Lightning win at +101 while others offer a Lightning win at -105. Obviously, the former price offers the best value for those looking to bet on Tampa Bay in game 2.

Alex Nedeljkovic #39 of the Carolina Hurricanes. Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP

Hurricanes Must Win Game 2

The first game of the second round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t go to plan for the Central Division champions Carolina Hurricanes. Not for a lack of effort as they practically threw the kitchen sink at Vasilevskiy only to come up with one goal on 38 shots.

It goes without saying that the Canes are faced with a must-win game on Tuesday when the pair resume hostilities at the PNC Arena. To all intents and purposes, the Canes as the slight home faves according to multiple sportsbooks, but they’re no way near to being the runaway faves.

Vasilevskiy was the X-factor for the Bolts on Sunday but his Hurricane counterpart Alex Nedeljkovic wasn’t quite as stout. Critically, he coughed up the puck midway through the third period and that led to an innocuous shot by Goodrow that proved to be the winning goal when it gaily sailed into the net.

If the Canes are to turn this series around, they’ll certainly need more focused play from their netminder. Giving up the puck so haphazardly at a crucial point in the third period simply won’t cut it against an opportunistic team like the Bolts. It only goes to show just how fine the line is between winning and losing.

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NHL Predictions and Picks

The Tampa Bay Lightning are in prime position to take a commanding lead in this series and set themselves up advantageously for their return trip home and their ensuing two games at Amalie Arena. The way the betting odds stack up, the Bolts have a reasonable shot to accomplish the feat and bettors have every reason to fancy their chances.

Of course, the Canes aren’t a team to be taken lightly. After all, they did emerge tops in the division and were amongst the best teams in the league this season. But if it comes down to the goalie again, Vasilevskiy trumps Nedeljkovic right now. As such, the Lightning are the choice NHL picks here.

NHL Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning Moneyline +101 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Lightning ML(+101)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.