Is Game 3 a "Must-Win" for the Lightning?

NHL Jun 20, 2022

The so-called "dream matchup" in this season's Stanley Cup Finals between the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning and Western Conference juggernaut Colorado Avalanche has suddenly turned into a potential rout. Will the Lightning make a series of this matchup, or are the Avalanche simply too good?

The Colorado Avalanche streak into Game 3 with a pair of victories in Denver in the first 2 games of this year's Stanley Cup Final. Colorado nipped Tampa Bay 4-3 in overtime in Wednesday’s series opener before routing the Lightning in Game 2 Saturday by a 7-0 count.

So, it's hammer time for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

If the defending two-time Stanley Cup champions are to have any reasonable chance for a three-peat, they absolutely must win Game 3 on Monday night on their home ice.

Now down 0-2 to the Avalanche, the Lightning are coming off their worst performance of the season. Saturday's night's 7-0 ass-whipping wasn't just a loss, it was a humiliation. Stanley Cup champions aren't supposed to get beat like that. So, we'll see what's left in the tank for the Lightning and find out tonight if this series is destined to be competitive, or might instead turn into a sweep.

Credit the Avalanche for a blistering demonstration of hockey greatness the last two games. Colorado has dominated 5 of 6 periods, so far, and outshot Tampa Bay by more than a 2 to 1 margin in the series.

The Avs are getting plenty of chances and taking advantage of their opportunities, while the Lightning have been flustered on both sides of the ice.

Frankly, what we're witnessing by Colorado in this postseason has been phenomenal: Colorado has been unstoppable in this year's playoffs as the Avs have scored 76 goals in 16 games (averaging 4.75 goals per game). lists Game 3 as even. So. either team is a 110/100 wager.

The O/U is 6, although Games 1 and 2 each produced 7 goals.

The puck drops in Tampa Bay at 8:00 pm EST.

Key Stat #1: The Avalanche are 7-0 on the road so far in this year's postseason

Key Stat #2: The Lightning have allowed a total of just five goals in their last five home games

Prediction (powered by

Typically, a defending champion on their home ice would be favoured, sometimes big. But not in this case.

Public sentiment is that the Avalanche manhandled a very good team in Game 2. Moreover, Colorado has won all 7 of its postseason games on the road in 2022.

While we do think world-class goaltender Vasilevskiy will be improved after getting blitzed for 7 net blasts on Saturday, we're not sure if Tampa Bay has the tools necessary to stop an Avalanche of momentum. It's been a blizzard.

Tampa Bay will feed off its crowd for a much-needed boost. And look for Vasilevskiy rebound in a low-scoring game. However, we'll take the value with Colorado here (even money) and also play under 6 goals.

Final Score Prediction:

Colorado – 3

Tampa Bay– 2