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Avalanche to win 

Through two games of this Stanley Cup Final, it’s getting harder to make any argument for the Tampa Bay Lightning – the more experienced, two-time defending champion that simply refuses to go down without a fight. They may have met their ultimate match in the younger, faster Avalanche, which has been by far the better team through two games. The 7-0 dominating effort in Game 2 was one of the most stunning beatdowns in recent Stanley Cup Final memory.

Now the Avalanche carry a seven-game winning streak and a perfect 7-0 record on the road in these playoffs. Tampa is not going to be an easy place to play and anyone that outright counts out the Lightning have not been paying attention this postseason. They were down 2-0 in the last series, too, before rattling off four straight wins. The Avalanche won’t let up, though. They know if they ease off the gas at all, the Lightning are going to seize that opportunity.

Here's the thing though, I haven’t seen a ton of evidence in this series that the Lightning have any answer for Colorado’s speed and the Avalanche depth players have been way better than Tampa’s to date in this series. On top of that, Cale Makar broke out in Game 2 and staked a greater claim to the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. They have picked apart Andrei Vasilevskiy with 11 goals for so far in the series. Even though they let Tampa back into Game 1, they still dominated the possession and allowed so few quality chances against. It was much the same in Game 2.

Being at home should be a boost for the Bolts, but the Avs haven’t lost on the road yet and I think they keep the momentum rolling to put themselves on the brink of the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship since 2001.

Under 6 total goals 

Each game has seen seven goals scored so far, but I think the Lightning are going to be at least a little stingier on home ice. Over the last two series, the Lightning allowed two or fewer goals in five games at Amalie Arena. They get to dictate the matchups a little more and Vasilevskiy has been sharper on home ice.

However, if the Avalanche continue to suffocate the Lightning offense the way they did in Game 2, it’s going to make goals a lot harder to come by for the home side. I’ve been burned on the over-under in each of the first two games of this series, but I just feel like the Lightning are going to get a little bit of control back, even if I don’t think they’ll win.

Ondrej Palat anytime goal scorer 

Six of Palat’s nine postseason goals so far have come in home games. I thought Game 2 was one of his worst games in the playoffs to date and he’s going to want to make a big response. Every single game on home ice, it seems like he gets more ice time and makes a bigger impact.

Secondary scoring has been the name of the game in these playoffs and especially this series. The Lightning need a heck of a lot more of it if they’re going to have a chance. Palat isn’t the same level of star as Steven Stamkos or Nikita Kucherov, but he’s been massively important in these playoffs.

With how hot he’s been on home ice, I like his chances of hitting the back of the net at least once in this game.

Devon Toews under 1.5 shots on goal

The Lightning are going to force the Avalanche to defend a bunch more in this game. There’s just no way I see Tampa being held to 16 shots on goal again. Toews is going to have his work cut out for him to keep the Lightning forwards in check. He’s done it so well through two games, but everything should be a little tougher on the road.

Toews has been held off the score sheet only five times through 16 playoff games this year. One of those games was Game 1, where Tampa provided much better push back compared to whatever it was they were doing in Game 2. I’d expect that to continue on.

As a result, I think Toews is going to have to be preoccupied a bit more with the defensive elements of the game. I like the value on him not getting many shots on goal in a game where he’ll be a bit more defensively taxed.