Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Colorado Avalanche Game 1 Prediction, NHL Odds

Jordan Ramsay | Updated Jun 14, 2022

It's a heavyweight battle in the Stanley Cup Final as the Tampa Bay Lightning are aiming for a third straight Stanley Cup, while the Colorado Avalanche will look for their first Stanley Cup in 21 years.

Tampa Bay
51-23-3-5
AT
June 15, 2022, 8:00 PM ET
Pepsi Center
Colorado
56-19-5-2
Puckline +1.5 -212
Moneyline +123
Over / Under o +6

48%

Betting Action

52%

Puckline -1.5 +176
Moneyline -148
Over / Under u +6

48%

Betting Action

52%

The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to push closer to dynasty status as they aim for a third straight Stanley Cup championship when they open Game 1 of the Cup Final in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.  Both teams are coming off four straight victories.  The Bolts trailed 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Final against New York, before downing the Rangers in six games.  The Avs took out the Oilers in a four-game Western Conference Final for their second sweep in three playoff rounds.

Colorado is a -157 favourite to win Game 1, with a total of 6.0 on the NHL odds.

Lightning vs. Avalanche NHL Playoffs Betting Odds

The Avalanche took both meetings between these teams in the regular season, although the games were each decided by a single goal.  Colorado won a 4-3 shootout in Tampa Bay on Oct. 23 before winning 3-2 at home on Feb. 10.  Brayden Point led the Lightning with three points (2G, 1A).  Nathan MacKinnon (1G, 2A) and Gabriel Landeskog (2G, 1A) led for Colorado.

Tampa Bay has rolled through the playoffs since the middle of the first-round and enter the Stanley Cup Final with 10 wins in their last 12 games.  They’re 5-1 straight up in their last six trips to Denver and they’re 6-1 SU in their last seven games against Western Conference opponents.  Stellar goaltending has led to the total going Under in the Lightning’s last five games overall and five of their last six on the road.

With their sweep of Edmonton in the West Final, the Avalanche extended their win streak to five games.  They’ve been one of the strongest teams at home all year, going 12-2 SU in their last 14 games in Denver.  The total has gone Over in four of Colorado’s last five games against the Bolts.

The Avalanche are opening this series as -200 favourites to win.  Tampa Bay, the back-to-back reigning Stanley Cup champs, begin as +147 series underdogs.  Colorado winning in five, six or seven games is equally favoured at +363 each.  The favoured method of victory for Tampa is winning in six games at +545.  Cale Makar (+170) and MacKinnon (+203) are the Conn Smythe favouritesAndrei Vasilevskiy and Nikita Kucherov are each +377 for the Conn Smythe.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Since Tampa Bay was swept by Columbus in the first-round of the playoffs as the Presidents’ Trophy winners in 2018-19, they’ve won 11 straight playoff series’ and come in as a much more experienced team than Colorado.  Vasilevskiy has made the biggest difference.  Last year’s Conn Smythe winner is 12-5 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in this postseason.  He played both games against the Avalanche in the regular season, going 0-1-1 with a 2.96 GAA and .919 SV.  The really scary Vasilevskiy stat is his clutch performances.  In the Lightning’s last eight series clinching games, Vasilevskiy is 8-0 with a ridiculous 0.25 GAA, .991 SV and six shutouts.

With Point out of the lineup since Game 7 of the first-round, Kucherov has led the offence, putting up 23 points (7G, 16A) in 17 games.  He’s currently riding a five-game point streak (3G, 3A).  Ondrej Palat has also been a big piece and sits second on the team with 16 points(8G, 8A).  Steven Stamkos has a team-high nine goals.  Going back to Point, there seems to be optimism he will return to the lineup.  Point, who has been dealing with a leg injury, was a full participant at practice on Monday and took reps back on the No. 1 power-play unit.  It seems likely he’ll be back in the lineup by Game 1 or 2.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche will have had nine days off by the time the puck is dropped for Game 1, which allows them to get a little healthier, but could lead to rust.  One of the bigger questions is who will suit up in net.  Regular starter Darcy Kuemper missed the final three games of the conference final after suffering an upper-body injury in Game 1.  He is available to play Wednesday, but it’s possible the Avs elect to stick with Pavel Francouz, who started and won Games 2, 3 and 4 against Edmonton.  Kuemper is 6-2 with a 2.65 GAA and .897 SV in 10 playoff starts.  He started both games against Tampa in the regular season, going 2-0 with a 2.40 GAA and .929 SV.  Francouz is 6-0 with a 2.86 GAA, .906 SV and one shutout in six playoff games (four starts).

Colorado’s offence has been sparked by MacKinnon (11G, 7A) and Makar (5G, 17A), who have combined for 40 points.  MacKinnon leads the team with five power-play goals, while Makar became the first defenceman in NHL history to have five points (1G, 4A in Game 4 of West Final) in a series clinching win.  The duo has helped offset the loss of Nazem Kadri, who underwent surgery after injuring his thumb in Game 3 of the West Final.  Kadri and Andrew Cogliano, who underwent similar surgery after blocking a shot in Game 4, have both not been ruled out for Wednesday.  Both players have been skating, but it seems unlikely either would be ready by Game 1.  If they return, it will likely be later in the series.  Kadri has 14 points (6G, 8A) in 13 playoff games, while Cogliano is a big part of the penalty-kill.

NHL Prediction: Who Will Win Lightning vs. Avalanche?

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