Thursday NHL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Hurricanes vs. Lightning Betting Preview for Game 3 (June 3)

Thursday NHL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Hurricanes vs. Lightning Betting Preview for Game 3 (June 3) article feature image
Credit:

Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sebastian Aho #20 of the Carolina Hurricanes and Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

  • The Lightning host the Hurricanes for Game 3 of their playoff series after Tampa stole the first two games on the road.
  • Despite losing both games, the Hurricanes actually played fairly well, but Tampa's Andrei Vasilevskiy has been outstanding between the pipes.
  • Pete Truszkowski explains why he's not counting out the Hurricanes just yet against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Hurricanes vs. Lightning Odds

Hurricanes Odds +140
Lightning Odds -168
Over/Under 5.5
Time Thursday, 8:00 p.m. ET
TV USA
Odds as of Wednesday night and via FanDuel

The defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning have taken a major step in their hopes for a repeat. Tampa went on the road and took both games from the Carolina Hurricanes in front of a raucous crowd. Now, the Lightning return home and have the opportunity to end Carolina’s season. 

After the first two games of the series closed near a pick’em price in Raleigh, the Lightning are solid favorites in their home arena. Carolina probably deserved a better fate and are extremely unlucky to not at least get a split at home. Will they be able to rebound on the road, or is this the beginning of the end for the Hurricanes? 

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What We’ve Learned So Far

Tampa Bay has a 2-0 series lead, but based on the games we saw in Raleigh, it wouldn’t be a total shock to see the Lightning down 0-2 instead. One can easily make the argument that Carolina was the better team in both games. The Hurricanes have posted a 56.2% expected goal rate through the first two games. They’ve had nearly 56% of the shot attempts. In addition, Carolina has outshot Tampa by a margin of 70-45 through two games. 

However, despite generating more chances and having more of the puck, the Hurricanes are yet to score at 5-on-5 in this series. Their lone goal in Game 1 was a powerplay goal from Jake Bean. Their only tally in Game 2 came in the final 90 seconds from Andrei Svechnikov with the goaltender pulled for a 6-on-5 advantage. 

Andrei Vasilevskiy has been his normal splendid self, stopping 68 of 70 shots for better than a 97% save percentage in this series. Through just two games, he’s posted a +3.78 goals saved above expectation. Vasilevskiy has been one of the better goaltenders in the league for the past few years, and he appears to be in top form. 

The Lightning have done a good job of limiting the quality of Carolina’s looks. Despite significant advantages in shot attempts and shots, Tampa Bay actually has a 15-11 advantage in terms of high danger chances. Carolina generated over 12 high danger chances per hour during the regular season, which led the league. Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and company have done terrific work. 

As if Carolina wasn’t already facing an uphill climb, they’ve been bit by the injury bug early in this series. Nino Niederreiter has missed the first two games of the series, and he’s extremely doubtful to appear at all, as per coach Rod Brind’Amour. Vincent Trocheck went down for the Canes in Game 2, and Brind’Amour said it “doesn’t look good.” Niederreiter and Trocheck usually make up two-thirds of Carolina’s second line with Martin Necas, so their absence will make a tremendous impact. 

In order to make up for their absence, Carolina will have to lean on their top guys. Sebastian Aho has no points in this series after putting up seven points in Round 1. Andrei Svechnikov has just two goals while Teuvo Teravainen has tickled the twine just once. If these three don’t pick it up in terms of production, it could be a really short series. 

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Hurricanes vs. Lightning Best Bet

It’s less than ideal that the Hurricanes dropped the first two games of the series at home, but they can’t be too upset with the way they’ve played. They’ve controlled possession and spent a lot of time in Tampa Bay’s zone. Additionally, goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic has been solid between the pipes for them.

After closing as consensus -115 favorites in Game 2, you can find the Hurricanes at +140 in Game 3. The line has obviously been adjusted because the series is moving to Tampa, but it might be an overadjustment. 

Over the past five seasons, Tampa Bay has had a better road playoff record than their record at home. Additionally, they’ve been a top five road team in every season with fans in the stands over that time frame. The Lightning are elite both at home and on the road, so paying too much of a premium to back them at home doesn’t make sense. 

Vasilevskiy has been splendid for the Lightning, but goaltending could be fleeting. In the first round, Vasilevskiy allowed 16 goals. While his results in this series are definitely repeatable, banking on a goaltender to maintain a 97% save percentage is dangerous. 

At this price, I think the Hurricanes are worthy of a bet. If Tampa Bay gets even an average goaltending performance, Carolina has a good chance of winning this game. This line implies Carolina has just a 41.7% chance of winning this game, and I think that’s too low. I’d feel comfortable backing the Canes at any price better than +125. 

Pick: Carolina Hurricanes +140 (bet to +125)

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