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Lightning Favored Over Islanders In Pivotal Game 5

Semyon Varlamov and the New York Islanders hope to upset the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of their semifinal series.

Having regained the home-ice edge in their Stanley Cup semifinal series with the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay has no intention of relinquishing it again as the Lightning welcome the Isles back to Amalie Arena for Game 5. The Bolts (46-20-5 SU, 32-35-4 O/U) look to bounce back from a 3-2 loss to the Islanders (42-22-8 SU, 29-38-5 O/U) in an entertaining Game 4 on Saturday at Nassau Coliseum.

New York Islanders vs Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Date/Time: June 21, 8 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Amalie Arena
  • TV Coverage: NBCSN
  • Opening Odds: Lightning -167 | O/U 5.5 (Line History)
  • Islanders vs Lightning Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Tampa Bay opened at -167, but the line didn’t stay that low for long; it’s now in the -185 to -190 range depending on where you wager. The O/U kicked off at 5.5 (U -150) but has predictably shifted down to 5 with the OVER at -130 and the UNDER at +110.

New York News & Notes

Ryan Pulock isn’t a goaltender by trade, but his save in the waning moments of Game 4 might have saved his team’s season. He blocked a shot attempt from Ryan McDonagh with Islanders netminder Semyon Varlamov out of position, preserving the Islanders’ lead and quelling a spirited comeback attempt from the Lightning, who fell behind 3-0 before making things interesting.

Staying competitive in a series in which the Lightning are the clear favorites hasn’t been easy for the Islanders, but they’ve made things much simpler for themselves by staying out of the penalty box. New York gave Tampa Bay just two power-play chances in the two games on Long Island, neutralizing a Lightning PP unit that ranks second in the playoffs with a 37.8 percent success rate.

Tampa Bay News & Notes

Could it be time for a shakeup in Tampa? The Lightning have been alarmingly incapable of drawing penalties of late, which might prompt head coach Jon Cooper to jolt his top six in an attempt to get more activity in the neutral zone and on the forecheck. The Lightning have scored more than two goals just once in the first four games of the series.

Of course, this team has made a living out of rebounding from rough games, having followed each of their previous 11 playoff losses with a win. And at the center of Monday’s quest to extend that streak to 12 is forward Nikita Kucherov, who is the runaway leader in Stanley Cup postseason scoring and has piled up an incredible 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in seven home games.

Betting Pick: Tampa Bay (-185)

Even setting aside the fact that the Lightning haven’t lost consecutive postseason games since 2019, they own a plus-7 shots advantage in their two home games in this series and should make the most of another shots edge in Game 5.

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Shark Bites
  • The Islanders are 4-9 in their last 13 games at Tampa Bay.
  • The Lightning are 8-4 ATS in their past 12 home games.
  • The UNDER is 8-3 in Tampa Bay’s last 11 games.