NHL Playoffs 2021: Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Wednesday's Stanley Cup Games

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 26, 2021

Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight stops a shot on goal by Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde (37) during the third period in Game 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Monday, May 24, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights can secure their spots in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Wednesday. 

Pittsburgh and Vegas will have to win their respective Game 6s on the road against the New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild, respectively, who both stayed alive on Monday with away triumphs. 

Tampa Bay appears to be in the best position to clinch its series since it welcomes the Florida Panthers to Amalie Arena. 

Although the winner of the all-Sunshine State series is still to be determined, a high amount of goals is almost guaranteed on the scoreboard. 

The Lightning and Panthers combined for 37 goals over five games, and only one of those contests had fewer than five tallies. 


Wednesday Stanley Cup Schedule

Game 6: Pittsburgh (-105; bet $105 to win $100) at New York Islanders (-110) (6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) 

Game 6: Florida (+127; bet $100 to win $127) at Tampa Bay (-148) (8 p.m. ET, CNBC)

Game 6: Vegas (-136) at Minnesota (+118) (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN)



Florida at Tampa Bay (Over 6)

The over in the Lightning-Panthers series has been one of the most reliable bets in the first round.

The over is 6.0 goals and there is a good chance it will hit on Wednesday. The series has already produced 37 goals. 

Nine players on the two rosters have five or more points, with Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau leading the series with 10. 

The 27-year-old and his Panthers teammates sent 198 shots on the Tampa Bay net, while the team's netminders faced 163 attempts from Lightning players. 

Despite the advantage in shots, the Panthers have three fewer goals than their in-state rivals, and they need to beat Andrei Vasilevskiy multiple times to stay alive with a Game 6 win. 

In its Game 3 win in Tampa, Florida jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period and then forced overtime with a pair of tallies in the final stanza. Ryan Lomberg finished off the win with an overtime goal. 

If the Panthers come out with the same intensity as they did in that contest, they could strike early and force the Lightning to play from behind. 

Since the Lightning have been more efficient with their shots on goal and two of the goalies used by Florida have save percentages under .900, the home side should be able to score a few times. 

All of those trends lead you to believe that the over should be in play, no matter which team comes out on top.


Mark Stone To Score (+155) 

Mark Stone carries a three-game scoring streak into Game 6. 

The Vegas right winger is the leading scorer in the series with four tallies, and he sent three goals into the net in Games 3 and 4 in Minnesota. 

The 28-year-old is a strong option to pick to score on Wednesday since he is hot and has been efficient with his shots on target. Four of his 10 attempts have been successful. 

Minnesota's defense allowed nine goals in its first two home games with Vegas, and it allowed three on the road at T-Mobile Arena. 

The disparity in the Wild's concessions suggests Stone and his teammates could have another profitable night in the offensive zone. 

Jonathan Marchessault (+185) could be viewed as the top Vegas player to score in Game 6 since he leads the team with 21 shots on target in the series, but he has only a single goal to his name. 

In this case, it is just easiest to ride with the hot hand in Stone that has taken the most advantage of his accuracy. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Hockey Reference.

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