New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 1 Prediction, Playoff Odds

Jordan Ramsay | Updated Jun 12, 2021

For the second straight season, the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning will meet in the playoffs with a spot in the Stanley Cup Final on the line.

NY Islanders
32-17-4-3
AT
June 13, 2021, 3:00 PM ET
Amalie Arena
Tampa Bay
36-17-1-2
Puckline +1.5 -173
Moneyline +160
Over / Under o +5.5

39%

Betting Action

61%

Puckline -1.5 +144
Moneyline -192
Over / Under u +5.5

39%

Betting Action

61%

Game 1 of New York and Tampa Bay’s second-round series is set to go from Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The Islanders made it to this third-round semifinal series by taking out the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 in the first-round and the Boston Bruins 4-2 in the second-round.  The defending champion Lightning made it through because of a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers and a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Tampa is a -120 favourite to win Game 1 on the NHL odds, with a total of 5.5.

Islanders vs. Lightning Stanley Cup Odds

Despite not playing each other yet this season, there’s plenty of familiarity between these teams.  It took six games for the Lightning to take down New York in last year’s Eastern Conference Final and both teams will be icing essentially the same roster.  There should be 17 returning players from last year’s series in the Islanders’ lineup for Game 1 and 16 for the Bolts.  Tampa Bay comes in as a -300 favourite to win this series, while the Isles are +202 dogs.

Not having home ice advantage has got to be concerning for New York.  They finished the regular season 15-15-4 on the road and have lost eight of their last 11 games in Tampa Bay.  The Isles have, however, been scoring at a higher than usual rate.  They’ve hit the Over in five of their last seven games overall and six of their last nine on the road.  New York is going at +565 to win the Stanley Cup.

The Lightning peaked at the right time and look like the strongest remaining team in the playoffs.  They’ve won five of their last six games overall and 24 of their 44 total wins in the regular season came at home.  The total has gone Under in six of Tampa’s last seven games overall, but it’s gone Over in five of their last seven at home.  The Bolts are +137 to win the Stanley Cup and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy is a +202 favourite to win the Conn Smythe.

Teams that take a 1-0 lead in an NHL best-of-7 series are 497-226 (68.7 per cent) to win the series, including 8-4 this year.

New York Islanders

It will be interesting to see how New York matches up in this series, as they play a completely different style than Tampa.  While the Bolts play a fast-paced high-tensity game, the Isles get their wins through defensively suffocating opponents and slowing the game down.  Although inconsistent at time, it will be Mathew Barzal‘s job to spark the Islanders’ offence.  In New York’s last game, Barzal’s four-game point streak and three-game goal streak were broken.  Between Games 2 and 5 in the second round, he had six points (3G, 3A), including the game-winning goal in Game 4.  Barzal has nine points (3G, 4A) in the postseaon.

New York has two capable goalies in Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin, although Varlamov is expected to get the nod in Game 1.  Varlamov won four of the final five games in the Boston series, posting a 2.26 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.  It was Sorokin, however, who made the difference against Pittsburgh.  Sorokin made 39 saves in Game 1 against the Pens, before Varlamov started and lost Games 2 and 3.  Sorokin then won Games 4-6 with a 1.79 GAA and .949 SV.

Also look out for Brock Nelson, who seems to always play his best in the biggest games.  He had two goals and an assist in the series clinching game against Pittsburgh and the game-winning goal in Game 5 against Boston.  Nelson is up to 10 points (6G, 4A) in 12 playoff games this year.  Last year he put up 18 points (9G, 9A), including three game-winning goals, in 22 playoff games.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Nikita Kucherov has been on an absolute tear for Tampa in the playoffs.  The forward, who missed the entire regular season, leads the playoffs with 18 points (5G, 13A).  Kucherov has picked up 13 of his points (4G, 9A) from the Lightning’s lethal power play.  Tampa is capitalizing on 41.7 per cent of their man advantages in the playoffs, the highest number in the league.

Vezina nominee Vasilevskiy has looked unstoppable through the first two series’.  His 29-save shutout to close out the Carolina series was the third straight series clinching game he’s stopped every shot.  Vasilevskiy is 8-3 in the playoffs, posting a 2.24 GAA and .934 SV.  He’s allowed two or fewer goals six times in this postseason.

Brayden Point has the potential to be the biggest game-breaker in this series.  He just always seems to find a way to score in the playoffs.  Point is tied for the playoff lead with eight goals (five on the power play) and he has 12 points in 11 games.  During last year’s run to the Stanley Cup he put up 33 points (14G, 19A) in 22 games.  Point has 62 points (30G, 32A) in 55 career NHL playoff games.

NHL Playoff Prediction: Who Will Win Islanders vs. Lightning?

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