Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals vs. Lightning Odds, Betting lines, spread

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals vs. Lightning Odds, Betting lines, spread

The lone team with a past Stanley Cup win left is the Tampa Bay Lightning. They've lost twice to the Bolts since that last Conference Finals appearance. Our game plan was to make it hard on them.

Tampa may be a small team, but they are skilled and shoot the puck as often as they can.

What has really been outstanding has been their exceptional defence core with the likes of Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, newly acquired Ryan McDonagh and the emergence of rookie Mikhail Sergachev.

The other part becomes a reality Friday night, when the Lightning open the Eastern Conference finals against Ovechkin's Washington Capitals.

The Washington Capitals are playing in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time.

Both teams are even in many aspects, which should make for a fun game.

Backstrom, who took a shot from Justin Schultz off his right hand in Game 5 against the Penguins on Saturday, skated and did some light stickhandling Thursday; Burakovsky (out with upper-body injury) practiced and are each considered day-to-day.

"I think once you've had a couple good years in a row you kind of start to get more confident and believe in your abilities a little more", he said. Played every game since, though.

Andrei Vasilevsky has been in net for all 10 of Tampa's playoff games, and he's gone 8-2. Holtby has gone 8-3 with an equally impressive.926 save percentage and 2.04 goals against average.

"I don't think we were necessarily prepared for it", said Tyler Johnson, one of four members of that precocious crop who also has appeared in the playoffs for Tampa Bay this time around.

The Capitals entered the playoffs as 16/1 favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

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Maybe the most important development for Tampa Bay this postseason is that their offensive firepower has shown no sign of slowing down.

Winnipeg Jets (52-20-10) vs.

Winnipeg Jets (C2) vs. Vegas Golden Knights (P1) WINNIPEG, MB - FEBRUARY 1: Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Vegas Golden Knights keeps an eye on the play during first period action against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on February 1, 2018 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Centre Paul Stastny was the only player on the roster who has won a Game 7 in the playoffs and he has done it twice. The team has five double-digit scorers already this postseason, led by Mark Scheifele and his ridiculous 11-goals-in-12-games stretch.

The Jets are leading the playoffs, along with Washington, with 3.6 goals per game. But Winnipeg can throw Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers out on their second line, and Mathieu Perreault and Bryan Little on their third line to create a bunch of matchup issues for Vegas.

The Capitals have been unusually strong on the road in the past month, going 5-1 in Columbus and Pittsburgh while just 3-3 on their home ice.

I think what we're going to see between these two teams is the heavy, mean game of the Jets against the heart-and-soul play of the Knights.

Nearly half of their starting lineup are having career years and their first line is finding ways to score against some of the NHL's best.

Plus the evidence continues to build that the Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, and William Karlsson line may be the best in hockey. Winnipeg and Vegas are both obnoxious, just in different ways.

First round preditions: 6-2.

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