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Series Shifts to New York as Islanders Host Lightning in Game 3

Mathew Barzal and the Islanders host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of their semifinal series.

The New York Islanders have developed an impressive stubbornness as the visiting team so far in the Stanley Cup playoffs – and that has worked to their benefit as they host the Lightning in Game 3 of their semifinal series Thursday. New York (41-21-8 SU, 29-37-4 O/U) was a sub-.500 road team during the season but earned a vital split in Tampa (45-19-5 SU, 32-34-3 O/U).

Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Islanders
  • Date/Time: June 17, 8 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Nassau Coliseum
  • TV Coverage: USA
  • Opening Odds: Lightning -135 | O/U 5.5 (Line History)
  • Lightning vs Islanders Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The Lightning kicked off the betting cycle as -135 favorites, but are now sitting comfortably at -140 almost across the board. The total opened at 5.5 but was quickly knocked down to 5, with the OVER at -135 and the UNDER at +115.

Tampa Bay News & Notes

The Lightning came out firing Tuesday night after dropping an ugly 2-1 decision in Game 1, outshooting the Islanders 33-26 while jumping ahead for good on Ondrej Palat’s goal with 6:45 remaining in the second period. The Lightning have rebounded with a victory after each of their four playoff wins so far, and will now look to overcome their own road demons in Game 3.

As dominant as the Lightning looked during the regular season, they went just 15-10-3 away from Amalie Arena – and that doesn’t match up well with an Isles team that posted a 21-4-3 home record. That said, Tampa has won five of six road games so far in the postseason thanks in large part to Nikita Kucherov, who missed the entire regular season but has 22 points in 13 playoff contests.

New York News & Notes

The Isles are used to having to shut down elite forwards; they did so with Sidney Crosby in a Round 1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, and largely neutralized the Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand-David Pastrnak trio in the second round. Kucherov, however, has been a major problem so far, having assisted on four of the Lightning’s five total goals so far in the series.

There are other problems facing the Islanders, as well, namely a reversion to the offensive struggles that plagued them for large parts of the regular season. The Isles scored just four goals on 57 shots in the first two games in Tampa after coming into the semifinal series with one of the top goals-per-game averages through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Betting Pick: Tampa Bay (-140)

Until the Islanders figure out how to slow Kucherov down, he’ll be the deciding factor in a series that has otherwise been rather evenly matched. We’ll take the team with the superior offense at a decent price.

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Shark Bites
  • The Lightning have won 6 of the past 9 meetings.
  • The Islanders are 4-1 in their last 5 home games.
  • The UNDER is 7-2 in Tampa Bay’s past 9 games.