Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight (30) stops a shot on the goal by Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) during the first period in Game 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Monday, May 24, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
- The Florida Panthers try to avoid elimination vs the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of their series
- The Panthers have failed to win a playoff series since their march to the Stanley Cup Final 25 years ago
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Wednesday night’s clash at Amalie Arena
The Tampa Bay Lightning get another shot at closing out their first round playoff series with the Florida Panthers when they hit the ice for Game 6 on Wednesday night as strong -154 home favorites.
The Lightning fell short in their first attempt to bounce Florida from the postseason, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Panthers on Monday in Game 5, but maintain a 3-2 lead in the series. Listed as +130 road underdogs in the Game 6 odds, the Panthers aim to maintain the momentum that has earned Florida wins in two of the past three games in this series. However, Florida must overcome a dismal track record on the road in the postseason if they are to force a decisive Game 7 clash.
Here’s a look at all the odds and trends as this Central Division first round matchup gets underway at 8pm ET on Wednesday at Amalie Arena.
Panthers vs Lightning Game 6 Odds
|Team||Puck Line at FanDuel||Total||Moneyline|
|Florida Panthers||+1.5 (-210)||O 6 (-110)||+130|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-1.5 (+172)||U 6 (-110)||-154|
*Odds ss of May 25, 2021
Knight to the Rescue
Faced with the prospect of losing yet another playoff series, the Panthers rose to the occasion in Game 5. With rookie netminder Spencer Knight shining in his playoff debut, Florida managed to contain a red-hot lightning attack that had racked up 19 total goals over the first four games of the series.
Spencer Knight was beaten on first shot, stopped next 36 in 4-1 FLA win
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 25, 2021
Knight stood tall in the face of a 22-shot barrage in the first period, getting his team out of the frame down by just a single goal. And it was all Florida the rest of the way, with Panthers shooters rewarding their youthful goalie with four unanswered goals to secure the win.
Panthers on the Brink is Nothing New
While the Panthers have managed to seize the momentum with Monday’s victory, they have yet to convince the oddsmakers that they can win this series. Despite winning two of the past three games and outshooting Tampa Bay by a wide margin in two of those contests, Florida continues to lag as a distant +340 longshot in the NHL playoff series prices.
Florida Panthers have no playoff round wins since 1996. Is this the year they finally do it?
— Edna Garrett (@WatchMyReview) April 30, 2021
Indeed, history is far from being on Florida’s side. The Panthers have failed to win a playoff series since reaching the Stanley Cup Final back in 1996, going 3-11 in 14 playoff games on the road during that stretch.
Lightning vs Panthers Series Prices
|Team||Odds at FanDuel|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-460|
Vasilevskiy Key to Success
While the Panthers seek to rewrite a generation-long narrative of playoff futility, the Lightning aim to regain their scoring touch as they continue their quest for a second straight Stanley Cup title. Unlike Florida, which struggled with subpar goaltending over the first four games of the series, Andrei Vasilesvkiy has been stellar in the crease for the Lightning.
If Florida had Vasilevskiy and Tampa had Bobrovsky/Driedger, the Bolts would’ve been swept https://t.co/QRl4ecFdXM
— Yankees & Penguins (#ChaseFor28) (#LetsGoPens) (@yy67045767) May 25, 2021
Facing an average of over 39 shots on goal per game, Vasilevskiy has stood tall, emerging as arguably the biggest reason the Lightning maintain a series lead. The 26-year-old made 80 total saves over the club’s first two home games of the series, extending his sparkling record at Amalie Arena this season, where he has piled up 19 wins in 23 appearances this season.
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Dominant at Home
Vasilevskiy’s dominance on home ice extends to his work in the playoffs in recent years. The Lightning netminder has suffered just one loss in regulation in his past 10 playoff starts on home ice, while holding opponents to three or fewer goals in nine of those contests.
Vasilevskiy’s dominance has also been key to the club’s success at home this season, where they have won 22 of 30 total contests. While the Panthers are far from a pushover, it is tough to see this contest ending any other way than with a victory from an experienced, battle-hardened Lightning squad.
The Picks: Lightning -154; UNDER 6.0 (-110)
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.