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NHL Odds & Pick for Hurricanes vs. Lightning: Betting Based on Who Tampa Bay Has in Net (Tuesday, April 20)

NHL Odds & Pick for Hurricanes vs. Lightning: Betting Based on Who Tampa Bay Has in Net (Tuesday, April 20) article feature image

Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Curtis McElhinney.

  • The Hurricanes and Lightning will meet for a second straight night on Tuesday.
  • Rotation between the pipes is likely, and who starts for Tampa Bay dictates the betting value.
  • Matt Russell breaks down each scenario for this Central Division clash of contenders.

Hurricanes vs. Lightning Odds

Hurricanes Odds +100
Lightning Odds -115
Over/Under 5.5
Time Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET
Odds updated as of Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET and via BetMGM

The top two teams in the Central Division met for the penultimate time on Monday, and a matchup featuring two Stanley Cup contenders that possibly flew under the radar had a playoff intensity.

In this space in advance of that game, we thought we had a solid angle regarding the total. However, the goaltenders had other ideas.

Carolina Hurricanes

Petr Mrazek was outstanding in a losing cause, as the Carolina Hurricanes dropped the game 3-2 in overtime.

At one point, the announcer said that Mrazek was “stealing lunch money right now.” Our angle on taking the over 5.5 goals was that the two teams had played their previous games evenly, given that both teams had combined to average well over four expected goals at even-strength. Four of the six previous meetings had gone under because for a multitude of reasons, the teams struggled to convert the plethora of high-danger chances (HDC) at even-strength.

Mrazek made sure that this was going to be the case again in the teams’ penultimate matchup this season. Specifically, an epic recovery save, as he slid pads-first in front of a backhand shot that seemed destined for an open net, only to be stopped on the goal line. That prevented the Lightning from taking a 3-2 lead that would have subsequently forced the Canes into an empty-net situation and the high probability of either an empty-net goal to make it 4-2 or a 3-3 tie.

While Mrazek saved the game at the time and eventually a point in the standings, it wasn’t enough to save the day in its entirety. Head coach Rod Brind’amour was quoted earlier in the day saying that the Canes would be relying on two goaltenders down the stretch, which is a hint that Mrazek will be taking the night off on Tuesday as these teams waste no time in renewing their pleasantries. 

Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.

Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.

xG numbers and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.

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Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning and Hurricanes got heated in the third period after an Alex Killorn hit went unappreciated by Jake Gardiner leading to a fight that had Killorn playing to the crowd after he was escorted to the penalty box. We’ll expect a similar intensity to Tuesday night’s rematch, but will Tampa be able to play at the same level 5-on-5?

In the six matchups so far this season, the even-strength metrics support the record split. While the Hurricanes have generated 9.0 HDC per game to the Lightning’s 10.33. The Canes have actually warranted 13.26 xG to 13.06 for Tampa Bay. However, on Monday the Lightning had 61.5% of the Expected Goal Share at even-strength, and had 13 HDC at even-strength to just 6 created by the Hurricanes. 

With the Lightning earning 2.22 Expected Goals at even-strength, and the Canes creating 1.39 even in a lackluster performance, the teams were expected to score 3.61 goals 5-on-5. Add that to the two power-play goals in the game, and we saw what could have easily gone over 5.5 goals, just as it went under. 

The Lightning don’t have the same luxury that the Hurricanes have if they feel the need to turn to someone other than Andrei Vasilevskiy in the teams’ final showdown of the season. Curtis McElhinney has been a considerable disappointment when called upon. 

Betting Analysis & Pick

It will be interesting to see what kind of adjustment the sportsbooks and the betting markets make with both the moneyline and the total for Tuesday’s game.

Monday’s game saw a fluctuating moneyline as the Lightning opened close to -140, but it got as low as -115 before ticking back to -120. Will we see that similar support as the Canes start either of their two backups, and the Bolts may hope for some better play from McElhinney or another quality start from Vasilevskiy.

The choice of goaltenders should have an effect on the total as well. Since Mrazek was the only thing preventing the game from going over, I’d expect an even 6.0 goals.

I’ll be looking to play either version of this over. Either over 5.5 with Vasilevskiy, or over 6.0 with McElhinney. Also, I think we’ll see a more forceful offensive showing from Carolina and if we can get a good plus-money price on the Canes against Vasilevskiy, or any reasonable number to fade McElhinney, we’ll try our hand with that.

Pick: If Vasilevskiy starts, Hurricanes ML (no worse than +100) | If McElhinney starts, over 5.5 (play to 6.0)

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