The Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning have wielded home-ice advantage unmercifully in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Avs took Games 1 and 2 by a combined 11-3 score, with the Bolts returning the favor in a 6-2 drubbing on Monday night. Now, they can pull even with a Game 4 win, whittling the Final down to a best-of-3 series. There's a modest advantage on one side heading into Wednesday's critical showdown.
This is the side to be on, according to our projections!
Lightning moneyline (-110): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
The Bolts have played a neutralizing brand of hockey throughout the postseason, shutting down some of the best offensive teams in the league.
The two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions have limited their opponents to six or fewer high-danger chances at five-on-five in six of nine contests, translating to fewer goals against. Tampa has allowed just seven goals across their past six home games, with none of those goals coming at five-on-five.
Of course, Andrei Vasilevskiy deserves much of the credit. The Conn Smythe-winning goaltender has posted an asinine 97.2% save percentage at five-on-five at home in the playoffs, with an equally impressive 94.7% mark across all strengths. We're anticipating a similar performance in Game 4.
We also can't look past the Tampa Bay's improved offensive efficiency at home this postseason. Tampa is averaging 3.9 goals per game on 11.4% shooting at the Amalie Arena -- compared to 2.4 goals and 8.2% shooting as visitors. Considering Darcy Kuemper's 87.4% save percentage on the road, the Avalanche are at an even more considerable disadvantage tonight in Tampa.
Based on our algorithm, Tampa Bay has a 52.5% chance of winning Game 4 and leveling the Stanley Cup Final. Reconciling that information with the betting market, where Tampa Bay is priced as -110 favorites (52.3% implied odds), leaves an small edge in backing the home team. Taking the Lightning on the moneyline is rated as a one-star play.