Tampa Bay at Colorado
Game 1 Stanley Cup Finals
8 PM EST (ESPN)
These were the 2 best teams in the NHL this season in our opinion. Yes, Toronto, Carolina and Florida all had more points than the Lightning in the Regular Season, but Tampa Bay went and took 2 of those teams out and then took out the team that beat Carolina. Tampa Bay has won 11 straight playoff series and is looking to win 3 straight Cups, which hasn’t been done since the NY Islanders dynasty days of the early 80’s.
Remember in the Eastern Conference Finals, it took Tampa Bay a couple of games to get their legs under them as they lost games 1 and 2 at New York. We feel Colorado might have a similar problem, at least in Game 1 tonight. The difference is they are playing at home whereas Tampa Bay started on the road in the last series but still, 9 days off is 9 days off and that could really hurt the Avalanche in Game 1.
The experience factor will be huge in this series as well. In the last round when they were down 2 games to 1, we gave out Tampa Bay for free at +120 to win the series. In that article we said this team has seen everything a team could possibly see over the past 4 seasons as remember, before this run began, they were swept out of the playoffs by Columbus. There is nothing that will happen in this series that Tampa Bay hasn’t already been through.
Everything will be new for the Avalanche. This whole experience is one they have never been through before and while we give them immense credit for going 12-2 through the first 3 rounds of these playoffs, playing the 2-time defending champs is a whole other story.
Everyone knows how special a team Colorado is as they have stars all over the place but if Tampa Bay gets Brayden Point back, that would be a huge boost for them as he could cancel out Nathan MacKinnon. Don’t forget, Colorado will be without Kadri and Cogliano up front and Samuel Girard is still out for them on defense.
With the layoff, with the injuries and the fact that Colorado really hasn’t been tested in these playoffs, we feel that all leads to an advantage for the Lightning. Plus, throw in the experience factor and we are really liking the Lightning at +145 for the series.
We also feel it gives us options, especially if they win Game 1 which we expect them to do because then Tampa Bay would be favored in the series, and we could hedge our way back. That will be the plan for us here in the Stanley Cup Finals
TakingVegas.com 1* Free NHL Pick. Tampa Bay Lightning +140 Game 1 / +145 Series
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