NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Islanders (April 29)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Islanders (April 29) article feature image

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Lightning vs. Islanders Odds

Lightning Odds-200
Islanders Odds+165
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

On Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning missed out on their chance to lock up the third spot in the Atlantic Division against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Now, it all comes down to the regular-season finale versus the New York Islanders for their chance to secure a matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and avoid a series with the Carolina Hurricanes, the second-best team in the Eastern Conference.

A win assures the Lightning a date with the Leafs, but the suddenly hot Islanders could have other plans. Let's break down how to bet this matchup.

Lightning Have Been Inconsistent Down the Stretch

Last night's loss against the Blue Jackets is just a symptom of a much bigger issue for the Bolts. Tampa Bay has been outplayed in eight of its past 13 outings, posting a cumulative 49.0% expected goals-for rating over that stretch.

The Lightning have overcome these odds by going 7-5-1 over that stretch. In doing so, they have elevated their metrics beyond sustainable levels, putting themselves at risk of regression at the worst time of year.

Consistency has been a big issue for the Bolts over their 13-game sample, as they have struggled to maintain their metrics on either end of the ice. Tampa has been limited to nine or fewer high-danger chances in eight of the 13 games while allowing 11 or more in six of 13 games. Still, they've scored three or more goals in nine of those contests, tallying 20 over their past four games.

The Bolts have struck an unsustainable balance lately and can't continue to overachieve relative to their production metrics and win games. The Bolts' season-long PDO remains above-average, and their output has skyrocketed at a time when their metrics have taken a hit. Tampa is heading towards a correction phase, hurting their chances at a three-peat.

Islanders Playing Better on Both Ends

After a spell in which the Islanders allowed 10 or more high-danger chances in seven straight games, they've come back down within normal ranges over their past three.

The Islanders have limited their opponents to nine or fewer in three straight, helping them to victories over their last two. Defense remains a priority for the Isles, which will help them limit the Lightning's attack.

The improved defensive play comes when we're seeing the Islanders' best offensive showings. The Isles have scored three or more goals in all but one of their previous five games, including nine over their two straight wins.

Still, the Islanders have put up below-average shooting percentages over their last seven games, scoring on 7.4% of shots at five-on-five, below their season average of 8.5%. We could see sustained output from New York as they remain off their usual pace.

Logistically, the Islanders have an advantage, playing both nights of their back-to-back within their friendly confines. Conversely, the Lightning have to contend with playing their last game of the season on the road, with travel involved.

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Lightning vs. Islanders Pick

You wouldn't know it from looking at their record, but the Lightning are running out of gas to end the season.

It's unlikely they find the gear they need to against the Isles, who have been playing better hockey of late and should continue to ride their improved metrics.

This is a team-friendly spot for New York that we aren't passing up.

Pick: Islanders +165

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