Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy watches the puck during the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, June 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
- The Tampa Bay Lightning ride a 2-0 series lead into Game 3 of their second-round series with the Carolina Hurricanes as betting favorites
- The Hurricanes have outshot Tampa Bay by a wide margin, but have failed to solve goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Thursday night’s clash at Amalie Arena
The Carolina Hurricanes hope to avoid getting pushed to the brink of elimination on Thursday night when they travel to Tampa Bay for Game 3 of their Central Division second-round series with the Lightning as +133 road underdogs. With their offense once again struggling, the Hurricanes dropped a 2-1 decision to Tampa Bay on Tuesday, and now face the challenge of overcoming a daunting 2-0 series deficit in their clash with the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Listed as -157 favorites as the scene shifts to their home ice at Amalie Arena for Game 3, the Lightning have emerged as a defensive force as the postseason has progressed. Tampa Bay is now perched among the favorites as a +325 bet to successfully defend their Stanley Cup title but has struggled to produce consistent results in recent home contests.
Here’s a look at all the odds and trends as this Central Division matchup continues at 8:00 PM EST on Thursday night.
Hurricanes vs Lightning Game 3 Odds
|Team||Puck Line at DraftKings||Total||Moneyline|
|Carolina Hurricanes||+1.5 (-200)||O 5.5 (+110)||+133|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-1.5 (+165)||U 5.5 (-134)||-157|
Odds as of June 2
Canes Offense Shooting Blanks
After averaging a steady 3.67 goals per game while marching to victory over Nashville in six games in the first round, the Hurricanes have fallen flat in their efforts to solve Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Carolina outshot the Lightning by a wide margin in each of the first two games of the season but has been stymied by the Vezina Trophy finalist, who has turned aside 68 of the 70 shots he has faced so far in the series.
Andrei Vasilevskiy became the third goaltender in @TBLightning history to allow one or fewer goals in three straight playoff games, joining Ben Bishop (3 GP in 2016) and Nikolai Khabibulin (3 GP in 2003). #StanleyCup#NHLStats: https://t.co/XOVUbUxurD pic.twitter.com/OjqpurF5IS
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 2, 2021
Offensive struggles when facing the Lightning are nothing new for Carolina. Winners in just two of their past eight meetings with Tampa, the Hurricanes have been limited to two or fewer goals in six of those contests, including three of their past four trips to Amalie Arena. However, the club’s offensive woes extend back beyond their current series against the Lightning.
2021 Stanley Cup Odds Tracker
Aho, Hamilton MIA
The club’s leading scorer during the regular season, Sebastian Aho’s production has dried up in the postseason. Aho has yet to record a point so far in the series and has tallied just two total markers over his past five outings. Teuvo Teravainen has also been quiet, scoring just one goal and adding a pair of helpers through eight playoff contests, while rearguard Dougie Hamilton has also been held pointless in the series.
Anthony Cirelli puts Brady Skjei in a blender and beats Nedeljkovic on the backhand. 2-0 Lightning on 15 shots pic.twitter.com/d46wgvBpc1
— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) June 2, 2021
Carolina and Aho’s lack of offensive production has added pressure on netminder Alex Nedeljkovic. The 25-year-old wore the goat’s horns after allowing two goals on just 15 shots in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss, raising the possibility that head coach Rod Brind’Amour could turn to veteran Petr Mrazek for Game 3. The 29-year-old has been steady while seeing limited action this season due to injury, and has surrendered just two total goals over his past three playoff starts in Tampa Bay.
Lightning vs Hurricanes Series Odds
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-625|
Vasilevskiy the Difference
Third-place finishers in the Central Division during the regular season, the Lightning have wasted no time returning to championship form during these playoffs. With Vasilevskiy impressing between the pipes, the Lightning have rebounded from a worrisome three-game season-ending losing streak during which they surrendered 14 total goals, allowing just eight total goals while winning four of their past five.
This Lightning team reminds me a lot of the 2017 Pens in the playoffs. Getting outshot and outchanced most games but playing good team D, great goaltending and getting elite finishing off of counter rushes. That Pens team had incredibly high PDO as well just like this Bolts team.
— Francis Bacon (@baconator_fts) June 2, 2021
Among the highest scoring teams on home ice in the NHL this season, the Lightning also turned in dominating performances in the final two home games of their first-round series with the Florida Panthers, outgunning their cross-state rivals by a wide 10-2 margin. However, they cannot afford to continue to be heavily outshot by a Canes squad who have scored just 2.40 goals per game against over their past five home meetings.
Hurricanes vs Lightning Game 3 Best Bets
Like the Hurricanes, Tampa Bay needs more out of their biggest producers. Ondrej Palat has been held pointless in four straight outings, while Brayden Point has been limited to just one goal and four total shots so far in this series.
Most #StanleyCup playoff goals over last 2 years:#GoBolts Brayden Point – 19
Nathan MacKinnon (COL) – 17
3 players tied with 13 pic.twitter.com/vcANF4UpGs
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) May 31, 2021
With so much on the line, look for Carolina to break through on Thursday, and escape with their first win of the series in yet another low-scoring affair.
The Picks: Hurricanes ML +133; UNDER 5.5 (-134)
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Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.