theScore bet specials: Can Panthers, Blues bounce back in Game 2?
The NHL playoffs offer plenty of compelling storylines, a couple of which will be at the forefront tonight.
The No. 3 team in total power-play goals has yet to convert once through eight games, while one of the league's highest-paid goaltenders has been borderline dominant since regaining his starting spot following an up-and-down campaign.
Let's break down these storylines as we examine a couple of theScore bet specials.
Special: Panthers 1+ PP goal, Panthers to win in regulation (+125)
The Florida Panthers are in the midst of a power outage. They've yet to score a goal on the man advantage this postseason despite more than 40 minutes of work. To put that into perspective, the Dallas Stars (two) are the only other team to net fewer than three power-play markers. Not ideal.
Florida's opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning, has been as good as anyone on the power play. The Lightning have already scored 10 goals through just eight games - impressive to say the least.
With how tight the five-on-five contests are during the playoffs - everyone digs in and gets away with extra slashes, holds, and pins - special teams are often the difference. Tampa's are clicking and Florida's aren't.
The good news for Florida is there's plenty of time to come alive on the man advantage. The team certainly has the firepower to turn things around sooner than later and, against Tampa, should have no shortage of opportunities.
Only the Boston Bruins spent more time shorthanded during the playoffs. Even if we adjust the stats to a per-game basis, the Lightning are near the top (fourth) in terms of most penalty kill time per game.
While the Panthers didn't capitalize in Game 1, they're knocking on the door, having generated 14 shot attempts and six scoring chances in six minutes.
Converting on one or two in this game will go a long way toward leveling the series.
Special: Jordan Binnington 35-plus saves, Blues to win (+225)
The Colorado Avalanche shoot the puck. A lot. In fact, they do it more than any other team in the NHL.
Colorado leads all playoff teams in shot attempts, shots on goal, scoring chances, and high-danger scoring chances on a per-minute basis. It accomplished that while consistently leading - and ultimately winning - every game it played, even though teams generally shoot less often when up. For the Avalanche to still be piling up the shots at a more efficient clip than anyone says a lot.
The St. Louis Blues have some defensive shortcomings, which showed in Game 1. Even throwing out overtime, the Blues conceded 41 shots and 40 scoring chances. Insanity.
Jordan Binnington was worked into the ground, and it's fair to expect that to continue moving forward. The Avalanche have an unmatched level of firepower and have taken at least 38 shots in each playoff game. Again, they did that while often playing from ahead.
Colorado is only going to push harder when the game is leveled or tied. In the regular season, it ranked third in shots per minute while trailing - and that was despite missing key players for large chunks. The Avalanche are fully healthy now, which means they should be even more potent if forced to play catch-up.
Binnington will see a ton of rubber in this game - with a higher save ceiling if the Blues prevail.
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