Best Bets For Thursday’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Games

Best Bets For Thursday’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Games
© USA Today

The NHL Stanley Cup playoffs feature two Game 2s on Thursday, as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche take the ice again after strong first-game performances.

Tampa Bay defeated Florida on Tuesday, 4-1, while Colorado topped St. Louis, 3-2, in overtime.

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Florida Looks To Rebound Against Tampa Bay

In this Eastern Conference Second Round matchup, one team showed up in Game 1, the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Tampa Bay outperformed Florida on special teams, striking for three power-play goals en route to the Game 1 road win.

Florida has not scored on the man advantage in more than 20 opportunities. 

With Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy back in good form, Florida has to get to him quickly on Thursday. Otherwise, the Panthers are going to head up the road to Tampa down 2-0.

Both teams had their chances in Game 1. Tampa Bay, like a champion, converted them. Florida has to answer the bell in the next games.

Game 2 is being played on Florida’s home ice, FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, just north of Miami. The puck drops at 7 p.m. ET.

Here are some bets to consider:

1. Tampa Bay Over 2.5 goals: 1.67

2. Tampa Bay Moneyline in regulation: 2.90

3. Florida’s Aaron Ekblad Over 2.5 shots: 2.05

4. Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov Over 0.5 power-play points: 2.00

5. Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau anytime goal: 3.30

Colorado, St. Louis Clash In Nightcap

The Western Conference Second Round features two teams that played a close game on Tuesday, the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues.

In Game 1, St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington kept the game close, until Colorado pulled out an overtime victory.

Game 2 might close, too. 

On Thursday, Colorado knows it has to score earlier and not let St. Louis hang around. The longer the Blues do that, the more dangerous they become.   

It feels like a breakthrough is likely Thursday night. Goals might come a bit easier. 

These two Central Division foes take the ice for Game 2 at Ball Arena in Denver, with the Avalanche up 1-0 in the series. Game time is 9:30 p.m. ET. 

Here are the picks for the nightcap.

1. Avalanche wins the first period and Over 2.5 total goals first period: 5.00

2. St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington save prop Over

3. Colorado Avalanche in regulation Moneyline: 1.59

4. Colorado’s Cale Makar Over 2.5 shots: 1.59

5. Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon Over 4.5 shots: 1.80

6. St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly Over 0.5 points: 1.74

7. St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko anytime goal: 3.30

8. Colorado Avalanche win or draw all periods: 2.30

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Goal Scoring Highlights Battle Of Alberta  

Looking ahead to Friday, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers resume their Western Conference Second Round matchup, with Calgary up 1-0.

It has been 31 years since Edmonton and Calgary met in the playoffs. The excitement Wednesday was worth the wait, with the two teams combining for 15 goals in one of the wildest series openers in decades. 

Calgary outlasted Edmonton 9-6, as the Flames ran out to a 6-2 lead before Edmonton rallied to tie the game at six early in the third period. 

The Flames found their focus again as they tallied the final three goals. 

One factor in Wednesday’s outcome was that Edmonton’s high-octane power play looked lifeless. Their six goals came at even strength. Few expect that to continue. If it does, this could be a short series. 

On Friday, expect some interesting odds movement as bettors and bookies alike in Canada try to make sense of how to move on from Game 1.