After more than a month of Stanley Cup Playoffs action, we’re finally down to just two teams left to contend. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche kick off the Stanley Cup Finals tonight at Ball Arena.
The Lightning succeeded in taking down the New York Rangers last weekend and will be going for a historic third straight Stanley Cup Championship. The Avs stand in their way after sweeping the Edmonton Oilers in four games. Colorado is well-rested and favored to win the whole thing at -190 according to WynnBET Sportsbook.
Here are a few trends to be aware of before filling out your betting card for Game 1 tonight.
The Avalanche are 3-0 in Series Openers
The Colorado Avalanche are favored in this game, and this series, for many reasons. One of which has to be their spotless record in series openers so far during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They beat the Predators 7-2, Blues 3-2, and Oilers 8-6. The offense in these games has not been an issue at all with 18 combined goals in those three games.
Conversely, the Lightning are 1-2 in Game 1 action so far these Playoffs. They were shut out by the Maple Leafs 5-0 in the first round and got beat up by the Rangers 6-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals. They beat the Panthers in between 4-1. It’s clear to me that they are starting off these series slower with a combined 3 goals in three games.
Colorado is Well-Rested Heading into Game 1
The Avs played just two more games than they needed to in order to make Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. They swept both the Predators in the first round and the Oilers in the Conference Finals. This dominance tells me a few things about this team.
First off, the Avs are firing on all cylinders and beating up on very good playoff teams. These aren’t bottom feeders. Heck, Edmonton had a solid chance to go all the way this year and Colorado crushed them in four games. Secondly, the Avalanche has a ton of momentum heading into Game 1. They haven’t lost a game in more than a week and that is saying something in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Tampa Bay is 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals over the last two years
It may sound a bit silly to add this as a betting trend, and in a way it is. But it's also true. The Lightning haven’t lost in their last two Stanley Cup finals and are 3-1 all-time when they make it to the show. Tampa Bay is the first NHL team to capture back-to-back Stanley Cups since the Penguins did it between 2015-2017. If they pull off this upset, Tampa Bay will be the first three-peat since the New York Rangers won four in a row from 1980 to 1983.
What this means to me is that there is a good chunk of this Lightning team that has been here before, not once but twice. They are accustomed to the spotlight of the Finals and have proven their ability to come out on top.
All of these factors can help lead them to a Game 1 win as the more experienced playoff team.