The Avalanche humiliated the Lightning 7-0 in Game 2, making many wonder whether the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions have finally run out of gas.
According to +450 NHL playoff odds, the Lightning’s chances of overcoming the two-game deficit and winning the Stanley Cup have shrunk considerably. That will come as no surprise after Saturday night’s embarrassment.
NHL betting lines have the Avs as staggering -625 favorites to end their 21-year Stanley Cup drought.
Knowing they’re returning home for Game 3 was the only positive news for the Lightning after the surprising shellacking.
The Lightning are 7-1 on home ice and have won seven in a row at Amalie Arena.
The Avs, who are 7-0 on the road in the playoffs, won’t be at all concerned by Tampa’s home dominance.
Avalanche vs. Lightning Odds, Moneyline, Over/Under
Moneyline: Avs (-110) | Lightning (-110)
Spread: Avs +1.5 (-278) | Lightning -1.5 (+220)
Total: 6 Over +100 | 6 Under -120
Avalanche vs. Lightning Analysis
Tampa Bay had suffered two lopsided defeats in the postseason prior to the 7-0 whitewash on Saturday. They lost 5-0 in Game 1 against Toronto and fell 6-2 at Madison Square Garden in Game 1 against the New York Rangers.
Both of those games, however, occurred in an opening game of a series, in which the Lightning have been grossly inadequate throughout the playoffs.
Losing 7-0 in a Stanley Cup Final game is unacceptable for any team, let alone one vying for their third straight Cup. Jon Cooper will be the first to admit there are no excuses for his team’s inept Game 2 performance.
While he only faced 30 shots, Andrei Vasilevskiy was hung out to dry. Most of the Avs 30 shots were high-quality opportunities created off of odd-man fast breaks. Vasilevskiy had a .767 save percentage, his worst of the playoffs. He also allowed seven goals for the first time in his career, a foreboding prospect for the Lightning.
Everyone watching Vaislevskiy over the years has come to expect unerringly outrageous and extraordinary performances. The 27-year-old is the primary reason the Lightning have won 11 successive playoff series. However, Saturday’s performance fell well below his sky-high expectations and serves as a grim warning.
Vasilevskiy finished Game 2 with a -4.07 goals saved above expected, another playoff worst. For the Lightning to have any chance against the high-octane, lightning-quick Avs, Vasilevskiy has to be the undisputed most valuable player.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) June 19, 2022
Any more Game 2-like performances will put an end once and for all to the Lightning’s three-peat chances.
Tampa Bay mustered just 16 shots on goal for a total of 1.67 expected goals. Those numbers won’t ever trouble Darcy Kuemper, who secured arguably the easiest shutout of his career.
The Avs have proven they’re too quick, nimble and aggressive for the seemingly weary Lightning. Colorado enjoyed another outstanding first period, lifting the crowd and preventing the Lightning from gaining even a morsel of momentum. They scored three in the first 20 minutes for the second game running.
The Avs didn’t stop and played a complete game, the main difference between Game 1 and Game 2.
Game 3 will test all of Tampa’s collective resolve. No team is copacetic with being humiliated the way the Lightning were in Game 2. Based on what transpired in Game 2, it’s hard to conceive of the Lightning winning four of five against the most formidable team the league has seen in years.
NHL Morning Skate: #StanleyCup Final Edition – June 19, 2022
▪️ @Avalanche move within 2 wins of Stanley Cup
▪️ Another 7-goal outing propels Colorado to 7th straight win
▪️ @Cmakar8 (SHG, PPG) achieves rare feat with father in crowd#NHLStats: https://t.co/voB7mcYsD1 pic.twitter.com/g33NGRTWXF
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 19, 2022
It’s equally difficult to conceive of Colorado waltzing into Tampa and winning without a meteoric response from the back-to-back champs.
Tampa is a proud team comprised almost entirely of champions. It’s almost impossible to conceive of anything resembling capitulation from Cooper’s warriors.
The Lightning must stay out of the penalty box and get through the first period unscathed to end Colorado’s seven-game road-winning streak. Colorado was 2-for-4 on the power-play in Game 2 and has scored six first-period goals.
The Lightning know a Game 3 loss will put an end to their dreams of winning a third straight Stanley Cup. Even though the gulf between the two teams appears wider than the Florida Keys, Tampa Bay, on sheer determination and will, will squeeze out a Game 3 win, albeit in a tight, low-scoring one-goal contest.
Avalanche vs. Lightning Predictions
Spread: Avs +1.5 (-278)
Moneyline: Lightning (-110)
Total: Under 6 (-120)