Colorado Avalanche vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: Stanley Cup Final, Game 4 Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 6/21/2022

by Chuck Sommers

Stanley Cup Final, Game 4 -- Avalanche lead series 2-1

Time: 8 p.m. ET
Venue: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
Where to watch: ABC

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Even
BetMGM: Avalanche -115, Lightning -105
Caesars: NL

Monty Hale completed a strong 9-2-0 run over the last month in the NHL. Are you ready for the most highly anticipated Stanley Cup Final we’ve had in a long time? The two best teams over the past few seasons going at it. And you need to make sure you’re locked in at bigal.com for all of the analysis and thoughts on who will win between the Lightning and Avalanche. You need to be tuned in here to find out all the expert analysis. Catch Monty’s plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.

Lightning - Avalanche preview and analysis


Oh, that's better. We've got a series now.

As we expected, the Tampa Bay Lightning were not going down quietly. And in an emphatic way, the Stanley Cup Final is far from over after the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions took the Colorado Avalanche to the woodshed in Game 3, winning 6-2 and cutting Colorado's lead to 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.

Game 4 will be back in Tampa on Wednesday, and suddenly things are more interesting than we perceived. The Lightning improved to 8-0 at home this postseason, and are a win away from sending this series back to Colorado as a best-of-3, and is anyone really going to say no to that?

Five different players had two points for the Lightning, with Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat and Pat Maroon registering a goal and an assist, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves in a bounce-back effort. That's one way to reward Jon Cooper's faith in his star goalie after not pulling him for giving up seven in Game 3.

"We knew that this was a pretty much a must-win game for us," Stamkos said. "So I thought we played like it tonight. I thought our attention to detail was a lot better and the game plan, not that it changed too much, but we executed it. So a way better effort for our group."

Cooper said after Game 2 that he had no plans to pull Vasilevskiy after he had the worst playoff game of his career. The reigning Conn Smythe winner responded with two goals allowed on 39 shots.

"To go through what he went through two nights ago and perform like he did tonight and not only that, but to have them score first and then for the team to respond and back him up, I guess that's how you get to the places where we've been," Cooper said. "So it was a pretty great effort for everybody."

And suddenly, after Vasilevskiy's performance, he's the best goalie in the series again. Darcy Kuemper got the hook after giving up five goals on 22 shots, and Pavel Francouz had to replace him. Now there's question on who goes in net for Colorado after things went off the rail.

"They came out and they're fast and desperate, and we knew that going into it. We were going to expect them to be coming out hard here at home, kind of backs against the wall and be desperate," Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said after scoring the Avs' lone two goals. "But I thought we did some really good things, and we've got to clean some up in our zone and make sure we're exiting our zone a little more clean than we did tonight."

"There were some things I really liked from our group," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "It wasn't consistent enough. The execution and some of the turnovers, we gave up one on an easy turnover, good numbers back and we turned it over and it ended up in the back of our net. They executed quickly on our mistakes."

The home crowd in Tampa was going to make this a series, and it surely has. Now, the crowd has a lot to look forward to with Game 4, and now putting the confidence in the two-time champs that they can send this back to Denver tied is something people seem to want to hope will happen.

But as we've talked about before, the Lightning have trailed 1-0 and 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. People wanted to throw the dirt on them then. And when they trailed 2-0 to the New York Rangers, people were ready to move on from them at that point, as well. And yet here they are, still alive with the best goalie and the right personnel to even this series.

"We just wanted to come out strong and no matter what happened, stick to our plan, stick to the way we know how to play," Lightning center Anthony Cirelli said. "They got that one there early and we just kept going, kept going. Then, we got those two big goals going into the second and just kept going from there. But it's only one game."

Game 4 prediction


You do not give up on the Lightning until they are officially out. I keep saying this until I'm blue in the face, and I will scream it from the rooftops. Give me Tampa, tie this series, and send this classic back to Denver for what should be an incredible Game 5. Lightning win 4-3

Betting trends


Avalanche are 16-5 the past three seasons when leading in a playoff series.

Avalanche are 3-0 in Game 4s this postseason.

Lightning are 3-0 in Game 4s this postseason.

Lightning are 8-2 the past three seasons when trailing in a playoff series.

Projected lines


Avalanche:

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Valeri Nichushkin

Nicolas Aube-Kubel -- J.T. Compher -- Mikko Rantanen

Alex Newhook -- Darren Helm -- Artturi Lehkonen

Andrew Cogliano -- Nico Sturm -- Logan O'Connor

Devon Toews -- Cale Makar

Jack Johnson -- Josh Manson

Bowen Byram -- Erik Johnson

Darcy Kuemper

Lightning:

Ondrej Palat -- Steven Stamkos -- Nikita Kucherov

Brandon Hagel -- Anthony Cirelli -- Alex Killorn

Ross Colton -- Brayden Point -- Nicholas Paul

Pat Maroon -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Corey Perry

Victor Hedman -- Jan Rutta

Ryan McDonagh -- Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev -- Zach Bogosian

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert hockey picks today. And if you enjoyed this Tampa Bay Lightning - Colorado Avalanche prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NHL projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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