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NHL Picks: June 20

By Michael Spiegel

The Avalanche are in Tampa Bay tonight for game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Lightning trail 2-0 in the series after dropping game two on Saturday night 7-0. They’ll be looking to avoid the virtually impossible odds of overcoming a 3-0 series deficit with a win tonight and get themselves right back into this series.

The Avalanche dominated all of game 2, outshooting the Lightning 30-16. While they let off the gas for a few moments in game 1 and allowed the Lightning to get back in it and force overtime, that wasn’t the case whatsoever Saturday. They made the Lightning look completely out of place by dismantling them from top to bottom, something that I didn’t think was possible. While the Lightning may not have had their best effort, one cannot deny the effort that Colorado put forth in game two, showing why they are the team to come out of the Western Conference, losing 2 games over the course of three series’. Darcy Kuemper looked sharp when he had to be, stopping all 16 shots against him, and the team in front of him did the rest. While they were dominant for most of game 1 and all of game 2, playing in Tampa Bay has been extremely difficult for visiting teams, as the Lightning have only dropped one game at home in these playoffs.

How can someone bet against Andrei Vasilevskiy? Despite these two games, I still firmly believe that he is the best goalie in the world right now. This is not the first time that we’ve seen Vasilevskiy struggle in the early games of a series in these playoffs. Most recently, the Lightning and Vasilevskiy lost games 1 and 2 to the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final. After dropping game one 6-2 and losing game two, they won four straight to move on to the Cup Final. The Lightning are used to facing adversity and overcoming it has led them to the Cup Final for the third straight year. This team doesn’t know the word quit, whereas the Avalanche have struggled in the past to close out series wins. With their 7-1 record at home in these playoffs, I think games 3 and 4 will go to Tampa and they’ll send this series back to Colorado with it knotted up at two.

While the odds are virtually identical for game three, I’m taking the Lightning to win tonight.  

Pick: Lightning – Money Line -105 (DraftKings)

Other notable bets:

Avalanche/Lightning Under 6 Goals -116 (Sports Interaction): Andrei Vasilevskiy will need to be sharp in game 3 if the Lightning are to have a chance at getting back in this series. I expect him to show the world why he is the best with a lights out performance tonight. Kuemper is still a very good goalie, so I think goals will be limited in this one.

Ondrej Palat Over 0.5 Goals +200 (Betway): Palat has been sneaky good in these playoffs, with 9 goals through 19 games. He scored in game 1 and I think he gets one tonight.

Steven Stamkos Over 0.5 Goals +150 (Betway): The Lightning need their captain to lead them to victory tonight and I think he’s up to the task. He’s come up clutch in big games for them so far this postseason and I think he does so again tonight.

One of betstamp’s largest brand values is transparency. Whether you are looking to tail or fade my picks, or potentially just like reading the breakdowns, you can find my full documented betting record here. Best of luck with your bets today.

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