Tampa Bay is the top seed in the Eastern Conference. And opened as a favorite to beat Washington in their playoff series. But now they trail the best of seven series 0-2. Both losses were on their home ice. Now they must play games three and four in Washington. And they may not get out alive. If the Capitals win the next two games the series will end. And Washington will make the Stanley Cup Final. Such upsets with the NHL Playoff lines are not uncommon. In fact, unpredictability is what sets the Stanley Cup Playoffs apart.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals Game 3
Date and Time: Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
NHL Betting Online Odds at SBG:
|Lightning||+1½ (-275)||6 (-115)|
|Capitals||-1½ (+235)||6 (-105)|
Lightning vs. Capitals TV Coverage: NBCSN
Series so Far
Washington’s success at Tampa Bay with the NHL playoff lines was no fluke. They controlled game one with a 4-2 win. They rallied from 2-1 down in the second game to throttle the Lightning 6-2. Six different Caps scored goals in that second game. Goaltender Braden Holtby made 33 saves. Tampa Bay netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy was subpar. He allowed six goals on 37 shots. And that was after a poor game one in which he was pulled. Vasilevskiy allowed four goals on 25 shots in the first game. He is slumping at the worst possible time.
Braden Holtby is quite a sportsbook success story. He lost the starting job in the regular season. Washington benched Holtby to start the playoffs. But the Caps fell behind 2-0 to Columbus in the first round. Holtby was sent out to save the series and season. Which he has done. So far in post season he has a .926 save percentage. The goals against average is a tidy 2.04. Overall the Caps are 10-2 in the playoffs with Holtby starting between the pipes.
Washington captain Alex Ovechkin has borne the brunt of criticism each spring. The Capitals annual playoff failures blamed on him. Much of the criticism was not fair. “The Great Eight” has 56 goals in 111 post season tilts. But this year something is different. Ovechkin is leading like never before. He is also producing as the team’s leading scorer. In 14 playoff matchups he has 10 goals, nine assists and a plus five.
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s slump is concerning for the Lightning. His save percentage has dropped to .912. This is far below the regular season number of .920. Vasilevskiy was considered a strength. Instead he has become a liability.
Team vs Team
Washington has dominated Tampa Bay head to head. In the last 20 meetings the Caps paid out 15 times. Just one of the last six went under the total. At Capital One Arena the Caps are 11-2 against the Lightning. Just four of the last 13 at Washington in this series went under.
Matchup to Watch
How will Tampa Bay handle adversity with the NHL Playoff lines? It certainly looks like the Capitals will handle success. Holtby is outplaying Vasilevskiy. That is the matchup advantage.
Lightning vs. Capitals NHL Playoff Lines Picks
Washington is the pick to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.
NHL Betting Online Pick: Washington Capitals
NHL Betting Online Score Prediction: Capitals 4, Lightning 1
Check out highlights of the Caps win in game 2!