Tampa Bay throttled the Islanders on Monday night and took a 3-2 series advantage. Let’s see if New York can redeem themselves in front of their home crowd as we analyze this Game 6 matchup for another winner in our NHL picks!
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders
Wednesday, June 23, 2021 – 08:00 PM EDT at Nassau Memorial Coliseum
After getting dominated in the second period of Game 4 when the Islanders scored three unanswered goals to take a 3-0 lead, the Lightning rallied in the final stanza of Game 4 when they rallied with a pair of goals in their 3-2 loss. But the effort we saw from Tampa Bay in the third period clearly carried over to their scintillating performance in Game 5 on Monday night.
Steve Stamkos and Alex Killorn had two goals apiece for the Lightning in their 8-0 Game 5 win while outshooting the Islanders by a whopping 42-21 margin. Tampa Bay had three power-play goals as the Islanders became unglued and racked up 57 penalty minutes in the lopsided defeat. The victory improved Tampa Bay’s streak to 13-0 following a playoff loss dating back to last year’s Stanley Cup drive.
The Lightning are also 11-1 when scoring the opening goal of the game while registering a dismal 0-4 mark when the opposing team strikes first. And betting sites speaking of scoring, Brayden Point tallied early in the third period with a power-play goal in Monday night’s thrashing and now leads all scorers with 13 playoff goals. But in addition to that, he became only the second player in NHL history to score in at least eight straight postseason contests, trailing Reggie Leach who owns the record with 10 consecutive playoff goals for Philadelphia back in 1976.
Vasy Vexes Islanders
Tampa’s starting goaltender and Vezina finalist, Andrei Vasilevskiy, has been a rock for the Lightning, having started all 16 games, and is getting even better as the postseason wears on. As prolific as the Lightning offense was in Game 5, Vasilevskiy was equally as stingy between the pipes in turning aside 21 shots and getting his third shutout of the postseason.
The 26-year-old superstar already has a Stanley Cup ring from last year and the Vezina hardware on his mantle from the 2019 season. His contributions were not lost on the team captain, Steve Stamkos, despite the offense taking center stage with its eight-goal outburst.
“It’s certainly a response and a mindset and it starts with our goalie,” Stamkos said after Game 5’s dominating victory.
“Vasy just has an amazing ability to bounce back whether he plays great or he doesn’t play great. But when we lose, he takes that personally,” the Lightning captain added. “He was outstanding, made some big saves early, settles us down, we get some goals and get some confidence.”
Wanna Make a Bet?
The public will be laying it in on the Lightning after they skated on, over, and through the Islanders on Monday night. The last recollection the public has of a team factors largely into which way the money will go, and you can bet Joe Q. Public will be betting Tampa Bay hand over first.
But when we think about it, was Game 5 really a true representation of the series thus far? Of course not. These teams were even at two games apiece in the series and the Lightning had scored just one goal more than the Islanders. It doesn’t get much closer than that, folks.
But now we see the early NHL odds on this matchup and suddenly the Lightning are being offered as high as -160 because the oddsmakers know the public will be banging the books with square money so why not make them pay through the nose?
Well, the Lightning might have the best goalie on the planet and an offense that can set fire to the cold, hard ice on which they skate but the Islanders are a solid team that can defeat any club on any given night. I love the value we are getting here on the home dog and I look for a no-holds-barred effort from New York to force a Game 7. Grab the juice and back the Isles in this one.
*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.