Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 5 Odds - Prediction
This season's NHL Stanley Cup Finals is now down to a best-of-three showdown between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning starting this Saturday night with Game 5 at Amalie Arena. The puck is set to drop at 8 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on NBC.
Bet your Chi/TB pick at Bovada and get yourself a 50% Bonus on your first deposit up to $500 FREE! Be betting in minutes with your credit card!
The Blackhawks found themselves in a 2-1 hole against Anaheim heading into Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals and they responded with a 5-4 victory at home as -150 favorites. This past Wednesday, they faced the same scenario against Tampa Bay and were able to squeeze-out a crucial 2-1 victory as -180 home favorites. Chicago went on to beat the Ducks in seven games, but it did lose Game 5 of that series 5-4 as a +131 road underdog.
Players such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are largely responsible for the Blackhawks' run to this championship series, but they were both extremely quiet through the first three games of this series. That all changed in Game 4 with Toews giving his team an early lead for the first time in the NHL Finals with a second period goal. Brandon Saad went on to score the game winner for Chicago in the third period off an assist from Kane. Goalie Corey Crawford also played a key role in this win by posting a save percentage of .960 on 25 shots on goal.
Tampa Bay had its chances to take a commanding lead in this series after going up two games to one with a 3-2 victory in Game 3 as a +146 underdog on the road. The Lightning lost the series opener 2-1 as -123 home favorites and in another one-goal battle they earned a split on their home ice with a key 4-3 victory as -135 favorites in Game 2. The total went OVER the closing five-goal line in that game, but it has stayed UNDER in the other three contests.
The ongoing saga with Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop took another odds twist when he was replaced for Game 4 by Andrei Vasilevskiy. Bishop had to leave Game 2 of this series twice in the third period, but he was back between the pipes for Game 3 and he helped pace the win by stopping 21 of the 24 shots he faced. Vasilevskiy only faced a total of 19 shots on Wednesday night and the two that went in for goals proved to be the difference. There is no word from Tampa Bay as to which goaltender will get the start on Saturday night, but my guess is that Bishop will be ready to go. The bigger issue could be the play of center's Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn on the other end of the ice as three of the team's top scorers in these playoffs.
The Blackhawks are 7-1 in their last eight games after failing to score more than two goals in their previous outings and they are 5-2 in their last seven games in the NHL Finals. The total has gone OVER in four of their last five Saturday games.
The Lightning are 4-0 in their last four games playing on two day's rest and they are 9-3 in their last 12 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600. The total has gone OVER in five of their last seven home games.
The home team in this matchup is 5-2 in the last seven meetings and the total has gone OVER in five of the last seven games played in Tampa Bay. Chicago is just 1-5 in its last six road games against the Lightning.
Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Prediction
The total has stayed UNDER in three of the first four games in this series including both contests in Chicago, but with the series shifting back to Tampa Bay for Saturday night's Game 5, I am going with the OVER as my top pick in what I see as a wild shootout that could easily be decided in overtime.