The Tampa Bay Lightning thumped the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday to improve to 14-1 in their past 15 home playoff games, yet the Bolts are slight underdogs for Game 4 back at Amalie Arena in Tampa tonight. Bettors are backing them at Caesars Sportsbooks, however, and absolutely crushing over 6.0 goals.
Let's get to the key injury/goaltending news first. Lightning forward Brayden Point, a huge part of the team's power-play unit, will miss a second straight game with an undisclosed injury. Tampa Bay is 0-2 with him and 1-0 without in this series, but that's a fluke. Corey Perry largely replaced him on the top power-play unit in Game 3 and scored a goal. Riley Nash entered the lineup in Point's spot, and that adjustment should carry over to tonight.
Tampa Bay's best all-around forward, Nikita Kucherov, had two assists in Game 3 but left late with a lower-body injury; he is fully expected to play. Kucherov now has 44 multi-point playoff games in his future Hall of Fame career, by far the most in franchise history and tied with Mike Bossy and Gordie Howe for 19th-most in history. Kucherov's seven career multi-point games in the Stanley Cup Final are most of any active player.
Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky, excellent in the first two games, missed Game 3 and won't play in Game 4. He's not even in Tampa. Fellow top-six forward Nazem Kadri, who hasn't played since Game 3 of the West Final due to injury, did skate this morning and is expected to return. That's huge for Colorado. Kadri is coming off a career-best 87-point regular season and had six goals and 14 points in 13 postseason games before being hurt.
Colorado is expected to start Darcy Kuemper in net even though he was pulled after allowing five goals on 22 shots in Game 3. Kuemper was in the starter's net in this morning's skate.
For the first time this series, the Lightning are taking the majority of action on the moneyline at Caesars: 53 percent of tickets and 62 percent of the money. All three games have gone over 6.0 goals, and 97 percent of money and 92 percent of tickets are on the over tonight.
The Lightning are trying to become the 14th team in NHL history to even a best-of-seven Stanley Final at 2-2 after losing the first two games. The Bolts would be the third defending champions to accomplish the feat and first since Montreal in 1966.
Tampa Bay is 10-2 in Games 3-7 in the 2022 playoffs, including 3-0 in Game 4s. Andrei Vasilevskiy is 13-4 with a 2.32 GAA, .925 save percentage and one shutout in 18 career Game 4s.
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