NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Panthers vs Lightning Game 3 (Thursday, April 25)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Panthers vs Lightning Game 3 (Thursday, April 25) article feature image

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Panthers vs. Lightning Odds

Thursday, April 25
7 p.m. ET
Panthers Odds-105
Lightning Odds-115
Over / Under
-115 / -105
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about the Panthers vs. Lightning Game 3 on Thursday, April 25 – our expert NHL prediction and pick.

As the two teams in Florida continue to dominate the hockey landscape, the Battle of Florida will continue to be heated. Tuesday night was especially riveting.

We witnessed a masterclass in goal from both netminders in Game 2 as Andrei Vasilevskiy (Lightning) and Sergei Bobrovsky (Panthers) stole the show with dazzling saves.

Eventually, the Panthers came out on top with a 3-2 overtime win from the hands of Carter Verhaeghe and took a 2-0 series lead.

Now, we head to Tampa where the Lightning host Game 3. They’ve been dominating all season at home, but their opponents were exceptional on the road. Let's dig into my pick for Panthers vs. Lightning.

Florida Panthers

Verhaeghe, Tuesday night's hero, leads the Panthers in scoring and is coming off a 34-goal season.

He and Matthew Tkachuk have been a stabilizing force in the first two games, and I expect 57-goal scorer Sam Reinhart to make an impact sooner rather than later. The one exclusion will be Sam Bennett, who’ll be out for at least a week with a bone bruise.

Florida’s 5-on-5 play was elite all season. Offensively, that’s been the case in the playoffs, but defensively, the Panthers need to be better. In the two games played, the Panthers have ranked fourth in expected goals with a 58.73 xGF%, but are ninth defensively with a 3.19 xGA/60.

Over seven tries, the Florida power play has dominated, scoring at a 28.6% clip. The penalty kill is doing fine, but Tampa has a strong power play. That poses an interesting dynamic as the Panthers had an 82.5% success rate on the penalty kill.

Throughout the season, Florida’s goaltending has been exemplary. Between Bobrovsky and Anthony Stolarz, the Panthers dominated the crease all season. Bobrovsky stole the show in Game 2 and is playing to a .905 SV% with 2.2 goals saved above expected (GSAx).

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa needs to get more production from its depth — quickly. While Nikita Kucherov is chipping in with assists, the only goal scoring the Lightning have received is from Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Brandon Hagel. With this series back in Tampa, I’d look for the Lightning's depth to make its presence felt.

Tampa struggled to generate 5-on-5 play during the regular season and the postseason has been more of the same. It’s ranked 11th with a 41.27 xGF% and is getting destroyed in its own zone with a 4.54 xGA/60.

The Lightning’s power play led the league this season and is continuing at a strong pace. It's scored 25% of the time (eight opportunities) this postseason. However, the penalty kill (71%) needs to be better.

Vasilevskiy had an up-and-down season, but has certainly showed up in the playoffs. In addition to the spectacular saves he made in Game 2, he’s posted a wonderful .922 SV% and 3.8 GSAx in these two games.

Panthers vs. Lightning

Betting Pick & Prediction

Each game has been a one-goal game, and there’s a serious possibility that it will happen again.

The problem is that the puck line doesn’t give great value here, so I’m looking at the Lightning moneyline. Despite Florida having a great road record and Tampa being dominant at home, the missing link is Bennett.

Bennett isn't a big play driver, but he’s an agitator with an endless motor.

There’s always fireworks when these teams square off, but I think Tampa will come out on top.

Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning Moneyline (-120 at bet365)

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