Avalanche vs. Lightning Stanley Cup Final Game 3 Free Picks

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The Stanley Cup Final shifts to Tampa for Game 3 on Monday night as the two-time champion Lightning looks to avoid a 3-0 hole against the Colorado Avalanche.

Let’s take a look at the NHL odds for this matchup!

Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Monday, June 20, 2022 – 08:00 PM EDT at Amalie Arena

Series Odds and Game 3 Preview

  • Updated Series Lines: Avalanche -565 / Lightning +445
  • Favored Exact Result: Avalanche in 5 Games (+210)
  • Longshot Exact Result: Lightning in 6 Games (+1400)

I’m now leaning Avs in six, which is +400. For what it’s worth, Colorado won in Tampa 4-3 in a shootout in the lone regular-season meeting way back on Oct. 23. 

ABC has the telecast of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final as the series shifts from Denver to Tampa. The Avalanche are up 2-0 as they look for their first title since 2001.

Game 5 Betting Analysis

Key Injuries for the Avalanche

  • Andre Burakovsky (forward)
  • Nazem Kadri (forward)

Andre Burakovsky left Game 2 early in the second period after taking a Victor Hedman shot off the hand and didn’t return. Burakovsky had the OT winner in Game 1, and a goal and assist in Game 2. He didn’t travel with the team on Sunday but was to join the club in Tampa on Monday, and he still might play.

Nazem Kadri hasn’t played in the series due to thumb surgery but did travel. All that Coach Jared Bednar would say about his status is that Kadri remains day-to-day. I tend to think he doesn’t return Monday

Bolts’ Vasilevskiy Struggling

What the heck is going on with future Hall of Fame goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy? The Russian wasn’t great in Game 1 and was downright awful in Game 2 in allowing all seven goals on 31 attempts.

Vasilevskiy has given up three first-period goals in back-to-back games. His six goals allowed are the most in the first period through two Stanley Cup Final games since George Hainsworth gave up seven in 1936.  

Game 5 Pick and Score Prediction

Prior to these playoffs, Vasilevskiy had given up more than three goals overall just once in the Stanley Cup Final. I do think a return to home ice will make a difference as he’s 7-1 with a 1.69 GAA in Tampa in these playoffs. 

"Everyone is still confident that we can pull this out," said Lightning forward Nick Paul after Game 2. "We made it a little harder for ourselves, but that's fine. We can step up to the plate. We can answer." 

I tend to agree, at least for Game 3 so I'll ride with Tampa Bay for my NHL pick of the day. 

Score Prediction: Lightning 4 - Avalanche 2 

NHL Pick: Lightning ML (-107) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnlie Review)

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Lightning ML (-107)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.

New Conn Smythe Trophy Favorite 

Colorado forward Nathan MacKinnon had been the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP but he’s now a second favorite behind teammate and defenseman Cale Makar, who is -225. Makar, who's only 23 years old, had two goals in Saturday’s shocking 7-0 blowout win over Tampa Bay. 

Makar became the second defenseman in NHL history to score both a shorthanded and power-play goal in a Stanley Cup Final game. The other was in 1988 by Boston’s Glen Wesley.

Overall, it was the 11th time in league history that a blueliner scored both on the power play and shorthanded in any postseason game and the first player since future Hall of Famer Paul Coffey in the opener of the 1996 Western Conference Finals. 

Avalanche Defense Sets New Record for Points Scored

Colorado’s defensemen have scored a combined 61 points in these playoffs, a franchise record. The Avs are so good at forward that if their D guys are scoring too, well, they aren’t losing. Makar wasn’t even the No. 1 star in Game 2.

Forward Valeri Nichushkin had two goals. Mikko Rantanen had three assists and became the seventh player in franchise history to record three or more points in any Stanley Cup Final game. It was his fourth straight game with multiple points, tying an Avalanche/Nordiques franchise record in one playoff year.

Winger Andrew Cogliano had a pair of assists after missing Game 1 due to injury. Darcy Kuemper stopped all 17 shots for his first shutout of this postseason.  

Playoff Grind Taking a Toll

There’s a reason that teams very rarely win three Stanley Cups in a row – the playoffs are such a grind that all those extra games eventually are going to take a toll. Tampa Bay has now played a whopping 67 postseason games since Aug. 1, 2020 (the 2020 Cup Finals were later than normal due to the pandemic). 

That said, the Bolts have proven they know how to get off the mat. They were down 3-2 in the first round against Toronto and 2-0 in the East Finals vs. the Rangers. Tampa Bay is the first team in the expansion era (since 1967-68) and sixth in history to face a 2-0 series deficit in both the conference finals/semifinals and Stanley Cup Final.

The others were the:

  • Blackhawks (1965)
  • Red Wings (1963)
  • Blackhawks (1962)
  • Maple Leafs (1959)
  • Red Wings (1945)

None of them won the Cup. This is the first time Tampa Bay has trailed 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final. 

Significant Advantage Historically Speaking

Teams that hold a 2-0 series lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final go on to win the championship 90 percent of the time (47-5). The last to rally from down 2-0 and hoist the Cup was Boston in 2011.

The Avalanche are the fifth team and the first since the 1976 Canadiens, to take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final against the defending champions. Three of the previous four won the Cup.