Devils vs. Lightning: Game 5 Prediction, NHL Playoff Odds

Payton Matthews | Updated Apr 19, 2018

Andrei Vasilevskiy

What says Stanley Cup playoff hockey more than Saturday afternoon action in sunny Florida! The Eastern Conference top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning can close out their first-round series against No. 8 New Jersey.

New Jersey
44-29-5-4
AT
April 21, 2018, 3:00 PM ET
Amalie Arena
Tampa Bay
54-23-3-2
Puckline +1.5 -115
Moneyline +225
Over / Under o +6

16%

Betting Action

84%

Puckline -1.5 -105
Moneyline -270
Over / Under u +6

16%

Betting Action

84%

The Lightning were very fortunate to earn the East’s top seed on the final day of the regular season when Boston was upset at home by Toronto. Otherwise, Tampa Bay would likely be in the middle of a war with the Maple Leafs right now instead of the Bruins doing so. Certainly, the Lightning players want to finish off the Devils on Saturday, avoid a trip back to Newark on Monday, rest up and root for Bruins-Leafs to go seven arduous games (overtimes would be nice too) as the winner of that series would face Tampa Bay.

Devils vs Lightning Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Analysis

The Lightning have advanced to at least the conference finals in their past two trips to the postseason. In 2016, Tampa Bay had a chance to close out a first-round series at home vs. Detroit in Game 5 and did. The Bolts also won a clinching Game 5 at home in the next round against the Islanders. However, their last clinching chance at home was Game 6 of the East Finals and they lost 5-2 to the Penguins, who would take Game 7 back in Pittsburgh.

On the Sports Interaction series line, Tampa Bay is -10000 with New Jersey at +1200. Tampa remains the +200 favourite to win the East and +450 second-favourite to Nashville to win the Cup.

New Jersey Devils

Going in, the Devils likely would have been happy holding Tampa Bay to three goals in Game 4, but New Jersey only scored one in Wednesday’s loss. Kyle Palmieri scored the New Jersey goal at 8:23 of the first to give the Devils a short-lived lead. Rookie defenceman Will Butcher had an assist for his third point of the series, and superstar Taylor Hall had the other helper. The Devils were 1-for-6 with the man advantage and did hold that potent Lightning power play to 0-for-5.

Cory Schneider got the start in net for the second straight game and allowed two goals on 36 shots. It surely will be him again Saturday. Blueliner Sami Vatanen left Game 4 with an upper-body injury, and he didn’t originally travel to Tampa with the team but hasn’t been ruled out yet. That would be a major loss as Vatanen had been leading all Devils in average time on ice.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The biggest news for Tampa Bay is that Hart Trophy candidate Nikita Kucherov will not be suspended for Game 5. He had the controversial hit on Vatanen late in the first period of Game 4 that knocked the New Jersey defenceman from the game. The NHL department of player safety determined that Vatanen’s head was not the main point of contact on the hit and thus wasn’t illegal. Needless to say, the Devils aren’t pleased with that decision. Kucherov has been easily the best player in this series with four goals and five assists – he had two goals and an assist in Game 4.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, recently named a Vezina Trophy finalist, had his best performance of the series Wednesday in allowing one goal on 28 shots.

Devils vs. Lightning Game 5 Prediction

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