Lightning vs. Panthers Game 2 Odds, Picks, Predictions: NHL Playoffs Betting Preview (Thursday, May 19)

Lightning vs. Panthers Game 2 Odds, Picks, Predictions: NHL Playoffs Betting Preview (Thursday, May 19) article feature image

Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

  • The Florida Panthers host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday in Game 2 of their NHL playoff series.
  • The Lightning are looking to go up 2-0 in the best-of-seven affair, but analyst Jonny Lazarus like the Panthers to draw even.
  • Check out below why he's backing Florida to win on home ice.

Lightning vs. Panthers Odds

Lightning Odds+140
Panthers Odds-165
Over/Under6.5 (-115 / -105)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Florida Panthers didn't get off to the start they wanted, so this might be considered a must-win game due to the fact if they lose they’d be leaving town down 2-0 in this NHL playoff series.

The Tampa Bay Lightning came out and made a statement in Game 1 showing why they’re the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.

That said, the Panthers need to make sure they show up for the first 20 minutes of the contest and set the tone for Thursday’s clash.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are in a great position after their Game 1 performance, so another road win would be humungous. One of the most important things Tampa can take away from Game 1 was the play of their Nikita Kucherov, the team’s star who can carry the team through the playoffs.

Kucherov had a goal and an assist in the opening game, which puts him at 10 points for the postseason. In Tampa Bay’s two Stanley Cup runs, Kucherov was the guy carrying them, so they’d love for him to get back to that form.

Another guy the Lightning rely on heavily is goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who had a phenomenal Game 1 performance en route to stopping 33 of 34 shots for a .971 save percentage. The Panthers had 3.49 expected goals, but Vasilevskiy was there to shut the door and hold them to just one goal.

Vasilevskiy definitely wasn't at his best in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs, so this performance was very encouraging to start this series.

The Lightning have showed us time and time again they step it up a notch in the playoffs. However, they will get a valiant effort from Florida and it will be interesting to see how Tampa Bay handles things.

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Florida Panthers

We are going to see a desperation type of effort from the Florida Panthers tonight. They know that they cannot go down 2-0 with this series heading back to Tampa so there is no doubt in my mind that they are taking the must win approach to tonight's contest.

The Panthers need more from their second line if they are going to have any amount of success in these playoffs. This line that consists of Anthony Duclair, Sam Bennett and Jonathan Huberdeau carried them in the regular season, but between the three of them they only have a combined 10 points thus far in the playoffs.

What has been most alarming for Florida has been its power play. Through seven games of postseason action, the Panthers have yet to score a goal on the man advantage. They are 0 for 21 overall and if they continue to struggle on special teams they won’t go far.

That said, the Panthers have been strong all season long on home ice and they have always found ways to bounce back. I have no doubt in my mind that will be the strongest effort they put forth.

We might see their head coach, Andrew Brunette shake some things up.

Lightning vs. Panthers Pick

Losing Game 1 is unfortunately something the Panthers are used to doing since they haven't been successful in a series opener since 1996.

The Panthers were able to compete with the Lightning in the regular season, so they know what they need to do in order to find a win. Bobrovsky is not to be blamed, as he had a solid game in net. Florida just needs to finish its Grade A scoring chances.

If the Panthers don't produce right away, we could see them shake up the lines a bit and maybe put Huberdeau out on the ice with Aleksandar Barkov.

The Panthers have been a resilient team all season and that’s exactly what I expect in this matchup. I see Florida getting the job done in regulation and tying the series.

Pick: Florida Three-Way ML (-110)

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