NHL Betting Guide: Tuesday 5/18/21

There are three Game 2 matchups tonight, with the home team trailing in each series. That should make for three entertaining -- if not desperate -- games, as all three home sides hope to avoid heading on the road down two games in their best-of-seven series.

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Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Panthers moneyline (-104): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 6.5 (-138): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

Defense is what helped the Florida Panthers capture the second seed in the Central Division this season. What's not reflected in the score from Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning is that the Panthers maintained that strong defensive presence.

The Panthers limited the Lightning to 17 scoring opportunities and six high-danger chances at five-on-five, with only marginal increases to 28 scoring and nine high-danger chances across all strengths. Those numbers are on par with the Panthers' regular season averages of 17.6 scoring chances and 6.9 chances from high-danger areas at five-on-five.

That defensive presence prolonged the Lightning's recent string of being outplayed on the road. Over their last 12 games, the Bolts have been outplayed in six of them, attempting nine or fewer high-danger chances in six of those games and 28 or fewer scoring chances in nine of 12.

The key to Tampa's success in Game 1 was special teams. The Bolts scored three powerplay goals and one shorthanded tally in their 5-4 victory. Expect the Panthers to play a more disciplined brand of hockey tonight as they look to avoid the same fate in Game 2.

Based on the advanced metrics, Tampa was lucky to come out victorious in the first game of the series. We're expecting a reversal of fortunes in Game 2 as Florida maintains their defensive integrity and continues to limit the Lightning at five-on-five. Not only will that help the Panthers win, but it should help this one stay under the total. Both wagers are one-star plays, per our projections.