An overwhelming over trend might be the lone certainty in an NHL semifinal series where the away team has won every game.
The Lightning are a -170 home-ice favorite with the Washington Capitals coming back at +150 and there is a six-goal total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final on Saturday night. The series is tied 2-2.
The total has gone over in 16 of Tampa Bay’s last 20 home games against Metropolitan Division teams, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, while Washington is 11-2 in its last 13 away games during the playoffs. Tampa Bay is 7-3 in its last 10 home games.
Washington, which is also 16-4 in its last 20 away games (playoffs and regular season) against Atlantic Division teams, was snakebitten in the two most recent games of the series. The Capitals, led offensively by Alex Ovechkin, outshot the Lightning by a combined 76-43 in Games 3 and 4, but were stonewalled by Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
More often than not, the team generating more shot attempts and shots on goal eventually prevails in hockey. The Capitals will also have a key cog, center Nicklas Backstrom, in his second game back from an injury.
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby has a 2.24 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in the playoffs. Neither starting goalie has had a shutout in the postseason, which is another reason to think there will be some numbers put on the board at Amalie Arena.
Tampa Bay, which is 7-3 in its last 10 home games during the playoffs as a moneyline favorite of -150 to -500 on the NHL betting lines, has stayed in the series thanks to a lethal power play. With center Steven Stamkos and right wing Nikita Kucherov thriving on being teed up by their teammates, Tampa Bay has scored six of its 12 goals in the series on the power play.
The shots on goal discrepancy in Game 4 could be attributable to a string of the penalties that left the Lightning in a defensive mode for long stretches, particularly a 20-minute stretch where it failed to record an official shot. It’s plausible that Tampa Bay, the highest-scoring team in the NHL in the regular season, will break out at some point.
Vasilevskiy has a 2.63 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in the playoffs.
While everyone loves an overtime game, puckline bets have been a solid play recently. Fifteen of the last 17 NHL playoff games have been decided by more than one goal, although two of the past three required an empty-net goal in the final seconds of the game.
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