Sunday’s NHL Conference Finals betting preview: Lightning at Penguins

 

Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins (A: +180, H: -210, O/U: 5)

Series tied 2-2

The Tampa Bay Lightning rebounded from their worst performance of the postseason to even the Eastern Conference finals and look to seize control of the series when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for Game 5 on Sunday. The Lightning gave up 48 shots Wednesday before scoring the first four goals of Game 4 two days later and holding on for a 4-3 triumph.

Tampa Bay catalyst Ryan Callahan told reporters the change was more about energy than X’s and O’s and the Lightning hope to carry that emotion over on the road. “The bottom line is get a good rest tonight and make sure we refocus and get ready for a tough game,” Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman told reporters after assisting on two goals Friday. “They’re a really good team, but so are we, and it’s going to be a battle all the way.” Pittsburgh could draw positives out of a three-goal third period Friday, but lost defenseman Trevor Daley (left leg) indefinitely and gave up more than three goals for the first time in nine games. “We knew this was going to be a hard game,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said on Friday. “. … We didn’t play the way we’ve been playing that has allowed us the results that we’ve gotten here over the postseason.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, TVAS

PROBABLE GOALIES:

Lightning – Ben Bishop (W/L: 8-2, GAA: 1.85, SAVE %: .928)

Penguins – Matthew Murray (W/L: 9-4, GAA: 2.33, SAVE %: .926)

MATCHUP CHART:

ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (56-34-6, 39-44 O/U): Right wing Nikita Kucherov has yet to score a goal in the series, but totaled four assists in the last two games and leads the team with 16 points in the playoffs – one better than Tyler Johnson. Kucherov played with Vladislav Namestnikov and Alex Killorn on Friday while coach Jon Cooper put Johnson between Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin, who recovered from a rough game with a big power-play goal – his 12th point of the postseason. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy could get his fourth straight start in place of Ben Bishop (left leg) and owns a .928 save percentage in the series.

ABOUT THE PENGUINS (58-30-9, 43-36 O/U): Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made seven saves in the third period Friday after replacing Matt Murray, making his first appearance in net since March 31, and Sullivan told reporters he would make a decision on his Game 5 starter Sunday. Defenseman Olli Maatta could move back in the lineup for Daley, who left the arena on crutches Friday. “(Daley) is a hard guy to replace,” Sullivan said. “He plays a lot of minutes. He plays in key situations.” Right wing Phil Kessel leads the team with 17 points in the playoffs after notching his fifth goal in the last five games Friday.

TRENDS:

* Lightning are 4-1 in their last 5 road games.
* Penguins are 7-0 in their last 7 Sunday games.
* Under is 3-0-1 in Lightning last 4 games following a win.
* Over is 8-1-1 in the last 10 meetings in Pittsburgh.
* Lightning are 2-8 in the last 10 meetings in Pittsburgh.

COVERS CONSENSUS: At the time of publication the Penguins are picking up 65 percent of the moneyline wagers for Game 5. When you look at the total wagers, Over 5 is grabbing 74 percent of the action. View full consensus data here.

HOME TEAM ICE GIRLS:

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