Tampa Bay Lightning (40-18-4) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (40-12-10)
May 30, 2021 5:00 pm EDT
The Line: Carolina Hurricanes -111 / Tampa Bay Lightning -105; Over/Under: -6.5
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The Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes meet Sunday in game one of the NHL Central Second Round Playoffs at the PNC Arena.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are coming off a six-game series win over the Florida Panthers. The Tampa Bay Lightning are averaging four goals per game and are scoring on 40 percent of their power play opportunities. Brayden Point leads Tampa Bay with four goals, Victor Hedman has eight assists and Anthony Cirelli has 18 shots on goal. Defensively, the Tampa Bay Lightning are allowing 2.83 goals per game and are killing 72.7 percent of their opponents power plays. Andrei Vasilevskiy has given up 16 goals on 226 shots faced.
The Carolina Hurricanes are coming off a six-game series win over the Nashville Predators. The Carolina Hurricanes are averaging 3.67 goals per game and are scoring on 21.1 percent of their power play opportunities. Sebastian Aho leads Carolina with five goals, Brett Pesce has three assists and Dougie Hamilton has 32 shots on goal. Defensively, the Carolina Hurricanes are allowing 2.67 goals per game and are killing 88.5 percent of their opponents power plays. Alex Nedeljkovic has allowed 16 goals on 205 shots faced.
The Lightning are 6-1 in their last 7 Sunday games and 84-39 in their last 123 overall. The Hurricanes are 65-32 in their last 97 home games and 6-1 in their last 7 Sunday games. The under is 5-1-1 in Lightning last 7 road games. The under is 8-3 in Hurricanes last 11 home games. The Lightning are 24-10 in the last 34 meetings. The home team is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings. The under is 8-1-1 in the last 10 meetings.
The Tampa Bay Lightning in the underdog role is very intriguing given that you can argue they’re the best team in the league when they’re playing to their ability. However, it’s the Carolina Hurricanes who have often played the better hockey over the last month or so and they’ve done some of their best work on their home ice. The home team has won six of the last eight meetings between the Lightning and Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have been a little sharper defensively in these playoffs and I usually lean home team in game one until we get a proper feel in later games. Give me the Canes to draw first blood.