Lightning vs. Islanders Game 4 Odds, Preview, Prediction: Can Isles Even Series vs. Mighty Tampa Bay? (June 19)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. pictured: Head coach Barry Trotz, center, and the New York Islanders.
- The Lightning look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead and claim a third straight win over the Islanders.
- Tampa Bay bounced back in Games 2 and 3 with wins after the Isles opened the series with an impressive defensive display.
- Pete Truszkowski breaks down the matchup and which side he’s backing on Saturday night on Long Island.
Editor’s note: Read our preview for Game 5 of Lightning-Islanders here.
Lightning vs. Islanders Odds
|Over/Under||5.5 (+132 / -162)|
|Time||Saturday, 8 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday night via FanDuel.|
The Tampa Bay Lightning showed why they are the defending Stanley Cup champions in Game 3 against the New York Islanders. It wasn’t the prettiest display of hockey, but the Lightning were absolutely clinical in shutting down the Islanders en route to regaining home-ice advantage in the series.
Despite the current series score, there shouldn’t be too much panic in the New York locker room. The Islanders have gone toe to toe with the Lightning and have arguably been the better team in this series. At the very worst, they’ve played the defending champs to a dead heat.
Additionally, New York has found itself down 2-1 in both of its first two series before rattling off three consecutive wins in both to advance to this point.
Will history repeat itself for the Islanders on Saturday in front of their home crowd in a crucial Game 4 showdown or will the defending champions put them on the brink of elimination?
Tampa Bay Can Beat You In Many Ways
The Lightning are the defending champions for good reason. They can beat you in any style of game and feel comfortable winning in a multitude of ways. They’ve already proven that in this series, winning a more open Game 2 and then out-defending the Islanders in the third game.
There’s often a misconception about elite offensive teams and their ability to defend. The Lightning are known for their elite offensive talent, including Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point. However, many wouldn’t realize Tamp Bay is giving up just 2.21 goals per game in these playoffs, which is the best mark of the four remaining teams.
Victor Hedman is a perennial Norris Trophy contender as the league’s best defenseman. Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Ryan McDonagh and David Savard round out an elite defensive core. The Lightning benefit in having one of the league’s best goaltenders in Andrei Vasilevskiy, who covers any mistakes and then some.
Most hockey fans know about the Lightning’s offensive ability and elite talent. Tampa Bay is arguably the deepest team in the league, in terms of its forward depth. Stamkos, Point and Kucherov would be No. 1 forwards on most teams in this league. If the game turns into a high-paced, back-and forth affair, there are few teams who can keep up with Tampa Bay.
A lot has been made about the Lightning power play and for good reason. Tampa Bay scored power-play goals in the first two games of this series and for all intents and purposes, Point’s goal in Game 3 was a power-play goal as the penalty had just expired. The Lightning are converting on nearly 40% of their man-advantage opportunities in postseason.
With their prowess on special teams, top goaltending and elite talent, the Lightning don’t necessarily need to drive puck possession and control play. They can win in any way, which makes them an extremely tough out.
Islanders More Than Hanging With Defending Champs
Entering this series, Tampa Bay was nearly a -300 favorite to win this series and advance to the Stanley Cup Final. The Islanders have been underdogs in the first four games of the series, and will surely be underdogs in any upcoming contests. Despite this, one can argue the Islanders have actually been the better team at even strength.
Through three games, New York has a 6.89-5.09 advantage in terms of expected goals, which is good for nearly a 58% share. The Islanders also have a 31-21 advantage, in terms of High-Danger Chances through three games. Game 3 saw the Isles generate 14 HDCs, compared to just six for the Lightning.
Honestly, the Isles probably deserved a better fate in Game 3. They allowed the Lightning almost nothing all night, but Vasilevskiy was a save better than Semyon Varlamov. The game was ultimately a coin flip that went Tampa Bay’s way.
Adam Pelech was whistled for a questionable interference penalty late in the second period, and before he could get back in the play, Point scored what proved to be the deciding goal.
The Isles did not struggle to score in the first two rounds of these playoffs, but it’s quickly becoming an issue in this series. New York has just five goals through the first three games. Their lone goal in game three came from their fourth line which isn’t a recipe for success.
Anthony Beauvillier scored four goals through the Islanders’ first seven playoff games, but he hasn’t scored since Game 1 against the Boston Bruins in the previous round. Jordan Eberle, who plays with Mat Barzal, has just one goal in the last two rounds. Kyle Palmieri had seven goals in the first two rounds, but is yet to score in this series.
Vasilevskiy has befuddled many goal scorers in this league, as he’s arguably the best goalie in the league. However, the Islanders need their goal scorers to start putting the puck in the net.
Head coach Barry Trotz has mentioned Oliver Wahlstrom has recovered from the injury he suffered in the first round and could be an option. He adds a scoring touch, so it’ll be interesting to see if he draws into the lineup.
Lightning vs. Islanders Best Bet
If you’re a fan of New York, you’re not happy about the fact that your team is currently trailing in the series. However, you can’t be upset with the way it has played.
These games have been extremely close and you’ve gone toe to toe with the defending champions. Varlamov has provided good goaltending, the Isles have done a decent job of staying out of the penalty box in Games 1 and 3, and New York has the better analytics at 5-on-5 as well.
Additionally, the Islanders have been here before. Pittsburgh and Boston both won Game 3 on Long Island to take a 2-1 series lead before New York rebounded to even the series , en route to eliminating them. Obviously, the Lightning are a different animal, but the Isles have been right there.
Home-ice advantage is often overrated in the playoffs, but Nassau Coliseum has arguably the league’s best atmosphere. Additionally, Trotz is one of the best coaches in history, so anytime he has the advantage in terms of matchups, it’s not inconsequential especially in terms of shutting down elite players like Point and Kucherov.
As long as the majority of this game is played at even-strength, I think the Isles have a really good chance here. Calling it a coin flip might be a bit strong, but these teams have proven to be closer than many anticipated prior to the series. I don’t see the Coliseum going out with a whimper.
I like the Islanders to even the series as a home underdog.
Pick: Islanders ML (+116 — +110 or better)
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