Best NHL Prop Bets Thursday: Early Scoring in Lightning-Panthers Matchup

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Tampa Bay Lightning center Ross Colton (79) celebrates a goal against the Florida Panthers with his bench during the third period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Sunrise, Fla.
(AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)
BetMGM Staff @BETMGM May 18, 2022, 2:15 PM

The NHL playoffs are in full swing, which is undoubtedly the best time for NHL betting.

Instead of only looking at NHL betting lines, prop bets provide a nice alternative and there are plenty to choose from this time of the year.

Here are two to consider for Thursday.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers – Both Teams to Score in First Period (+155)

The Panthers opened the scoring in Game 1 against the Lightning with Anthony Duclair finding the back of the net with just under six minutes to go in the first. Tampa responded with goals in the second and third periods, meaning neither team scored in the same stanza.

I am expecting that to change on Thursday night.

Florida can ill-afford to go down 2-0 in the series before heading to Tampa for the Bolts to reap the benefits of playing on home ice. That should lead to an enthusiastic start in Game 2, akin to what we saw from them in the series-opener.

The Panthers dominated the opening 20 minutes, out-chancing the Lightning 10-3 in scoring opportunities and 5-1 in high-danger chances. That was fruitful on Tuesday night, and I am expecting a similar result on Thursday.

What the Lightning have done better than most this season is respond following a goal. However, it took some time in Game 1, with the Bolts tying things up over 20 minutes later. They’ve been effective at killing momentum early after an opponent’s goal. So far this postseason, Tampa has recorded five goals within five minutes of allowing a goal.

If the Panthers score early, the Lightning will respond accordingly. That should lead to goals from both teams in the first period in Game 2.

St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche – Time of First Goal 0:01-8:59 (-150)

Offense was a priority for the Avalanche in Game 1 and I am expecting no difference in Game 2. Colorado was relentless on Tuesday night, delivering 54 shots on target, including 43 scoring and 18 high-danger chances. They didn’t break through until the second period, but I’m anticipating a quicker start in Thursday night’s follow-up.

Even though the Avs didn’t record a goal until the second period, we did see a goal within the first nine minutes of Game 1. Ryan O’Reilly capitalized on a turnover below the hash marks and sneaked one past Darcy Kuemper in tight, as he staked the Blues to a 1-0 lead early.

First goals have been a specialty of the Blues over their recent sample, with St. Louis cashing the first one in four straight games. Early scoring has been an even more pertinent trend, with goals recorded in the first nine minutes of action in five of the Blues’ seven playoff games.

That trend resonates with the Avalanche, who have seen goals in the first half of the period in four of their five contests. The latest first goal in Colorado’s games came at the 10:45 mark of the first period in Game 3 against the Minnesota Wild.

The betting price reflects the likelihood of an early goal in Game 2 and I am not betting against such a prominent trend.

NHL Parlay Picks at BetMGM

BetMGM has you covered not only during the Stanley Cup playoffs, but throughout the NHL season. But the NHL playoffs are the perfect time for making NHL parlay picks in between examining the latest Stanley Cup betting odds.

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Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.

Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.