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For Game 5 of the Stanley Cup FInal, Ben Rajavuori is back with the Lightning vs. Avalanche odds, picks, and predictions. Will the Avalanche close it out or will we see the Lightning salvage the series?
ANALYSIS

Lightning vs. Avalanche Odds, Picks and Predictions: Stanley Cup Game 5

The return of Nazem Kadri proved massive, as the center scored the game-winning goal in overtime to propel the Avalanche into a series-winning opportunity on home ice tonight. The Lightning's backs are against the wall, as their hopes of a three-peat seem more distant than ever. The Lightning will now have to win three games in a row, including two road games, to hoist the Stanley Cup for the third year in a row. The bookmakers think Colorado will close it out tonight, as the Avalanche hold their highest line of the series at -185 on the moneyline. Can the Lightning extend the series?

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Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 5 Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: June 24, 2022

Time: 8:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: ABC, ESPN+

Click here for the best odds on Lightning vs. Avalanche Game 5

Avalanche vs. Lightning Line Movement

Avalanche vs. Lightning Prediction

The strategy for the Lightning in games three and four was to start fast and attack the net as much as possible. It worked well for game three and most of game four before the Avalanche were able to score early in the third period of game four to tie it and take the game to overtime. However, the Lightning played well in the first period of games three and four. It appears that there is a drop-off both offensively and defensively after the first period, though.

The Lightning defense only allowed four shots on goal in the first period of game four. The Avalanche then went on to get 34 shots on goal over the remainder of the game and were the much more offensive team in the third period and overtime. The Lightning offense also slowed down as the game went on, as we saw in the first few games of the series as well. The Lightning had 17 shots on goal in the first period of game four yet ended the game with 39, only recording 22 shots on goal in the remaining two periods combined and overtime. Why is this?

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Well, for one, fatigue could be a slight factor here. I'm speculating a big, as I've never played in the NHL, but the Lightning have played three incredibly long seasons in a row. Hockey is a rough contact sport with 82 regular-season games. The Lightning are in their third year in a row of 9-9.5 month seasons with little rest since they keep making the Stanley Cup finals. Could we finally be seeing fatigue affect the players? This could explain the strong first periods the Lightning have been playing, followed by a slower performance in the third.

The Avalanche are the younger and faster team. Nathan MacKinnon is nearly impossible to keep up with. Another aspect of the quick starts could just be that Colorado's players have better cardio being that they play and live at high altitude. This doesn't affect the game much in the first period since the Lightning are fresh, but the Avalanche slowly tire and wear on the Lightning as the game progresses. So what does all this mean?

The Lightning have their backs against the wall and are desperate for a win. This, combined with all I said above, means I think we see the back-to-back champs in the first period. They will be attacking the net, and the blueliners will shut down the Colorado attack as they did in the first period of games three and four. After that? I think it's anyone's game. I don't agree with the -185 price tag on the Avalanche, but it seems like they have a mismatch of agile skaters to combat the age and experience of the Lightning skaters. Over 60 minutes, the Avalanche should look like the better team once again, but I think the Lightning will look their best in the first period of game five tonight. For that reason, I like the Lightning to be leading after the first period at plus-odds.

Lightning vs. Avalanche Pick

Article Author

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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