The Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers play Game 2 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series Tuesday. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. Below, we analyze the Lightning-Panthers odds and lines, with NHL picks and predictions.
The Lightning won a seesaw affair against the Panthers in Game 1, edging Florida 5-4 in the first-ever playoff meeting between these intrastate rivals. Tampa Bay RW Nikita Kucherov made his season debut after recovering from hip surgery and he bagged two power-play goals in the second period.
The Panthers received goals from four different scorers, including C Carter Verhaeghe against his former team. But C Brayden Point was the difference maker with two third-period goals, showing off Tampa Bay’s amazing depth.
Lightning at Panthers: Odds, spread and lines
- Money line: Lightning -140 (bet $140 to win $100) | Panthers +115 (bet $100 to win $115)
- Against the spread/ATS: Lightning -1.5 (+180) | Panthers +1.5 (-225)
- Over/Under: 6 (O: -105 | U: -115)
Lightning at Panthers: Projected starting goalies
Andrei Vasilevskiy (31-10-1, 2.21 GAA, .925 SV%, 5 SO) vs. Sergei Bobrovsky (19-8-2, 2.91 GAA, .906 SV%)
Vasilevskiy stopped 35 of the 39 shots in Game 1. He trailed 4-3 early in the third period, but Point bailed him out with two goals in the final 7 minutes, including the winner with 74 seconds left in regulation.
Bobrovsky allowed goals to three different Lightning players, but Kucherov and Point got him twice apiece, and C Blake Coleman registered a shorthanded goal. That made for four special-teams goals, something Florida will certainly need to clean up if it wants to succeed in this series.
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Lightning at Panthers: Odds, lines, predictions and picks
Lightning 4, Panthers 3
Money line (ML)
The LIGHTNING (-140) found a way to win the opener on the road, even though they didn’t play their best game. The defending champs showed off their offensive muscle, and they had it going on with the man advantage. Until the Panthers show they can lock it down defensively, keep fading Florida.
Against the spread (ATS)
The Panthers +1.5 (-225) are a little too expensive for my liking on the puck line, but they would be my play rather than backing the Lightning -1.5 (+180). Still, the best play is to AVOID and just concentrate on the money line and total.
OVER 6 (-105) is the play even with the likes of a Vezina-caliber goaltender like Vasilevskiy in the crease for the visitors. He was beaten four times Sunday, and Florida has plenty of firepower to do it again.
The Over was a solid 5-2-1 in the eight regular-season meetings between Florida and Tampa Bay, and these teams went well Over in the series opener.
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