Tampa Bay was outscored 11-3 in the first two games of the seriesbefore rebounding with a massive effort in front of the Lightning faithful, exploding for four goals in the second period Monday night. Colorado not only had its seven-game playoff winning streak snapped but also its perfect 7-0 road postseason mark.
Tampa Bay has ripped off eight consecutive home playoff wins since losing Game 3 at home in the first round against the Maple Leafs.
Oddsmakers at SI Sportsbook have Game 4 as a pick’em with both teams owning -110 odds. The total goals market sits at 5.5, juiced to the over at -133 odds.
Let’s dive in and take a deeper look at a pivotal Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final and see where the respected early money in Vegas has arrived!
Until Game 3, Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper held his own against Andrei Vasilevskiy by winning all four of their matchups this season. However, Kuemper was pulled midway through Game 3 after allowing five goals on 22 shots.
It will be interesting to see if Colorado head coach Jared Bednar sticks with the veteran goalie—who sports a 8-3 record with a 2.76 GAA in the playoffs—or turns to backup Pavel Francouz, who is 6-0 with a 2.86 GAA in the postseason.
After opening the scoring for the second time in the Stanley Cup Final, Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is tied with teammate Valeri Nichushkin in goals scored (three) in the Stanley Cup Final. Forward Mikko Rantanen, despite not scoring a goal, leads all players in scoring (seven points) after registering an impressive seven assists.
After shockingly being held off the stat sheet in Game 1, Cale Makar now leads all defensemen in scoring with two goals and two assists in the Final. Meanwhile, top line center Nathan MacKinnon leads the club with 14 shots on goal but holds a disappointing plus/minus rating of -1.
Colorado needs more production from MacKinnon, who only has two assists in the Final, if it has any hopes of stopping Tampa Bay’s quest for a three-peat.
Can Tampa Bay Even the Series?
Vasilevskiy, who surprisingly surrendered 11 goals in the first two games, returned to form in Game 3 by stopping 37 of 39 shots he faced. The star goalie, who is 1-2 with a .879 save percentage and 4.31 GAA in the Final, will need to be at the top of his game once again in Game 4 in order for Tampa Bay to tie the series.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion has compiled a 13-7 record with a 2.57 GAA with .920 save percentage this postseason.
Tampa Bay’s top offensive players Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov combined for just one assist and a plus/minus rating of -4 in the first two games before enjoying their first productive games of the series in Game 3. Stamkos added a goal and an assist, while Kucherov notched two assists.
Arguably the biggest storyline heading into Game 4 is the status of Kucherov, (seven goals, 19 assists) who leads the Lightning with 26 points in 20 games.
The electric playmaker was forced out of Game 3 late in the third period with a lower-body injury following a hit by Avs defenseman Devon Toews. If Kucherov can’t play, it would be a massive blow to the Lightning’s chances of evening the series.
Injuries, as always at this time of year, continue to have major impacts on both clubs.
Tampa Bay center Brayden Point, who was able to play in Games 1 and 2 after missing 10 consecutive games, is doubtful to play in Game 4.
Colorado will once again likely be without the services of Nazem Kadri (thumb), who has been out since Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. The club will also be without forward Andre Burakovsky (hand), who was injured in Game 2. Burakovsky scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 1 and was playing well replacing Kadri on the team’s second line. His absence was evident in Game 3, as the Avalanche are now missing two pivotal players in their top-six rotation.
Colorado’s strong power-play unit, which leads all teams in the playoffs by hitting at 33.9%, remained true to form by scoring twice on four opportunities in Game 3. The Avalanche are now 5 for 11 (45.5%) playing with the man advantage in the Final, while only allowing one goal in 12 (8.3%) power-play attempts by the Lightning.
Respected Money Game 4 Betting Breakdown
The respected money from Las Vegas continues to make successful sports investments here at SI Betting. In the Stanley Cup Final, our wagers have left us with a positive ROI of +1.37 units.
Tampa Bay went down 0-2 against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final and bounced back to win four straight games. Can it repeat that same scenario in the Stanley Cup Final? The Lightning dropped the first two games on the road against Colorado, who is 29-6 (82.8%) at Ball Arena since the start of 2022.
Since losing their first home playoff game, the Lightning have ripped off eight consecutive home wins at Amalie Arena. The respected money in Vegas is backing the champs to once again display their grit and home dominance in Game 4.
BET: Tampa Bay Moneyline (-110)
Player Proposition Wagers
Mikko Rantanen - Over 0.5 Assists (-130)
- Colorado’s star forward has notched two-plus assists in each of the three Stanley Cup Final games and sits with 19 assists in 17 playoff games. Rantanen has registered at least one assist in 12 of 17 (70.6%) postseason games, including nine in the last seven. The versatile winger—playing on the league’s best power-play unit which includes MacKinnon and Makar—has resulted in four of his seven assists in the Stanley Cup Final.
Ondrej Palat - Over 0.5 Total Points (-140)
- One player who thrives playing at home in the playoffs for Tampa Bay is winger Ondrej Palat. The top forward is second on the club in playoff scoring with 10 goals and 9 assists (19 points) in 20 games. Palat has registered at least one point in every game at Amalie Arena in the playoffs with seven goals and seven assists (14 points) in nine home games. At an average of 1.56 points per game in front of the home fans, the moderate juice is worth the squeeze.
Stanley Cup Finals Betting (Series-to-Date): 4-3 +1.37 Units
Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.
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