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NHL Playoffs: Lightning are heating up

NHL Playoffs: Lightning are heating up

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The two-time defending Stanley Cup champs lead the Florida Panthers 2-0 in their second-round series

The Tampa Bay Lightning were one shot away from losing in the first round. That was last week, and that was against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

We all know how that ended. The Bolts won Game 6. Then they dispatched the Maple Leafs to another long offseason after yet another first-round exit in Toronto.

Fast forward to Round Two, and the Bolts now carry a commanding series lead over the rival Florida Panthers as that series shifts back to Tampa Bay for Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Monday.

That has meant a shift in the futures market for the Stanley Cup outright market.

When the second round began, the Lightning had the fifth best odds at to win the Stanley Cup. Two wins later – including a Game 2 road victory that included the winning goal scored with less than five seconds remaining in regulation – and the Lightning now have the second-best odds (of 5.25) to win it all.

Only the Colorado Avalanche have better odds for the outright winner market.

Meanwhile, the Panthers have seen their Stanley Cup odds shift from 4.60 on Monday to 9.00 on as of Friday morning. The results of Games 1 and 2 – both road victories for Tampa Bay – has meant a shift in the odds to win this series.

After a hard-fought, come-from-behind seven-game series win for Tampa Bay over Toronto in the first round, the Bolts entered Round Two against Florida as the underdogs to win this series. The Lightning now have odds of 1.27 to win the series, compared to 3.75 for the Panthers, who are now significant underdogs to win four of the next five games.

A big reason for their recent run – four straight wins – has been the play of goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. Despite a slow start to the post-season, Valilevskiy has been his usual impressive self over the last four games, allowing only one goal in each of his last three starts.

Battle of Alberta off to frantic, high-scoring start

If you like lots of goals, bad goaltending and suspect defending, well, Game 1 of the Battle of Alberta between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers was for you.

The pre-game Total was set at 6.5, with odds of 2.00 on the Over.

The Over 6.5 total goals subsequently hit before the midway mark of the game, with the final score ending 9-6 for the Flames. The Live Total got as high as 15.5 late in the third period.

It certainly was a throwback to the 1980s style hockey.

The pre-game Total for Game 2 between the Flames and Oilers on Friday opened at 6.5, and has remained there at since late Wednesday night.

Despite the win, the Flames’ performance in Game 1 likely got the attention of head coach Darryl Sutter. And that was by far the worst performance of the playoffs for Calgary goalie Jacob Markstrom. Meanwhile, those questions about the Oilers goaltending that came to the surface earlier in the regular season but went away down the stretch are suddenly back.

Mike Smith will reportedly start Game 2 for Edmonton. He started Game 1 but was pulled just six minutes in after giving up three goals on seven shots.

Despite being down 6-2 in the second period, the Oilers managed to come back and tie the game early in the third period, only to let Calgary regain the lead – for good this time – shortly after.

As of Friday morning, 92% of handle on the Total market was on the Over 6.5 for Game 2.

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