- The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking for revenge as they take on Columbus in Game 1 of their first round series as heavy betting favorites
- The Lightning were swept in four games in the first round a year ago by the Blue Jackets, who are coming off an impressive upset series win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in qualifying series action
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and storylines ahead of Tuesday afternoon’s Game 1 matchup at Scotiabank Arena
A highly anticipated playoff rematch between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning gets underway at 3:00 pm on Tuesday afternoon at Scotiabank Arena. Humiliated by Columbus while being swept in the first round of last year’s playoffs, the Lightning will be focused on avenging last season’s playoff loss, and sit perched as heavy -175 favorites to claim a Game 1 victory.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Tampa Bay Lightning Odds – August 11
|Team||Moneyline||Puckline||Total at DraftKings|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+148||+1.5 (-182)||O 5.5 (+108)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-175||-1.5 (+150)||U 5.5 (-132)|
Odds taken Aug. 10. All odds include OT and shootout
Lightning Offense Yet to Find High Gear
The highest-scoring team in the NHL during the regular season, the Lightning offense has yet to catch fire so far in the postseason. With team captain Steven Stamkos missing all three contests, and top defenceman Victor Hedman leaving Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Philadelphia due to injury, Tampa Bay struggled to generate offense during last week’s round robin, scoring just four times at even strength while capturing the No. 2 seed with a 2-1-0 record.
— Random Hockey Bear (@thehockeybear) August 7, 2020
But scoring woes in the playoffs are nothing new for the Lightning, who scored just eight times in four straight losses to Columbus in last year’s playoffs, and have averaged a meager 1.67 goals per game over nine postseason games since May 2018.
Vasilevskiy Giving Bolts Chance to Win
However, while the Lightning attack has floundered, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has stood tall. Vasilevskiy was steady in the Lightning’s two round robin victories, turning aside 56 of 60 total shots on goal. Vasilevskiy also did his part in Saturday’s loss to the Flyers, giving his teammates a chance to win by stopping 26 of the 29 shots he faced.
The Flyers just racked up 20 shots (to the Lightning’s 6) in a single period. Expected goals are 2.2-0.6. Shot attempts at 5-on-5 are 23-11. Philly with 79.2% of the expected goals at evens. Not great for Tampa, who are down two of their best players.
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) August 9, 2020
After being outclassed by a speedy, talented Flyers squad that dictated the pace, the Lightning must now contend with the Blue Jackets, who clinched a berth in the first round with a decisive 3-0 blanking of Toronto in Sunday night’s Game 5 matchup.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Tampa Bay Lightning Stats
|5th in Metropolitan Division (81 points)||NHL Standings||2nd in Atlantic Division (92 points)|
|2.57||Regular season goals per game||3.50|
|2.67||Regular season goals against per game||2.79|
|2-5-3||Head-to-head record in past 10 overall meetings||4-4-2|
Defense-First Blue Jackets Ready for Rematch
The lowest-scoring club among the 24 teams to make an appearance in qualifying and round robin action, the Blue Jackets frustrated the high-powered Maple Leafs with a stingy defense-first approach that paid immediate dividends. Seizing on opportunities, and backed by the stellar goaltending of Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus outscored the Leafs by a wide 10-3 margin in five-on-five situations, with two of their three wins in the series coming by shutout. Despite those performances, they enter Game 1 as +148 underdogs in the Blue Jackets vs Lightning odds.
For a team that places so much emphasis on defense and structure, the Columbus Blue Jackets have a much deeper and talented group of forwards than most people in the hockey world give them credit for.
— Dom Lunardo (@TapetoTape88) August 10, 2020
Of course, the Blue Jackets sport a far different look than the team that so quickly disposed of the Lightning in the spring of last year. Gone are superstars Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, and Matt Duchene, who all played key roles in the club’s first-ever playoff series win.
And while the recent series with Toronto served as a stepping stone for talented youngsters like Pierre-Luc Dubois and Liam Foudy, it will be stingy goaltending and defense that will power any success that the Blue Jackets have in this series.
Continued Discipline, Great Goaltending Keys to Success
That said, there is no reason to believe that the Blue Jackets cannot continue to play spoilers.
Well coached, highly disciplined, and getting great goaltending, Columbus is well-positioned to draw first blood against a wounded Lightning squad that has yet to find its offensive groove following a long layoff.
Blue Jackets are about as exciting as watching paint dry when playing with the 3rd period lead. But their discipline is really impressive. Torts working wonders there.
— Dave Cokin (@davecokin) February 2, 2020
That adds value to the +148 moneyline odds of Columbus earning the win in Game 1, and the -132 odds of the total going UNDER 5.5. The lucrative +315 odds of this contest being tied at the end of regulation are also worth a wager.
Picks: Columbus Blue Jackets moneyline (+148); UNDER 5.5 (-132); Tie in regulation (+315)
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