NHL Playoff Picks 2021: Predictions for Islanders-Lightning, Avalanche-Golden Knights

Eric Uribe
By , Updated on: Sep 4, 2022 08:00 PM
NHL Playoff Picks 2021: Predictions for Islanders-Lightning, Avalanche-Golden Knights

The NHL is getting close to determining its Stanley Cup matchup. Three teams have advanced to the third round of the playoffs since we last met, with the only holdout being the second-round series between the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights. Our latest installment of 2021 NHL playoff picks will include predictions for Avalanche-Golden Knights plus the New York Islanders-Tampa Bay Lightning series.

Let's first take a look at the latest NHL playoff betting odds for each ongoing series, courtesy of BetOnline:

Series FavoriteBetOnlineBetOnlineSeries Underdog
Vegas Golden Knights-340+285Colorado Avalanche
Tampa Bay Lightning-285+240New York Islanders

Please note, again, the Avalanche and Golden Knights are finishing up the second round either in Game 6 or Game 7. The Montreal Canadiens await the winner. Meanwhile, the series prices for Islanders-Lightning are third-round lines. 

As always, make sure you're checking these NHL odds before deciding on a wager. Game and series lines will move prior to each opening faceoff.

Latest 2021 NHL Postseason Predictions

With the Golden Knights and Avalanche set to square off in Game 6 on Thursday, June 10, it only makes sense to begin with their single-game lines, which were just released at this writing (Wednesday, June 9).

Game 6: Vegas Golden Knights (-135) vs. Colorado Avalanche (+122)

Oh, how the tables have turned. It wasn't long ago we billed the Avalanche as Stanley Cup favorites. They ranked first in goals scored per game and third in goals allowed per game during the regular season. 

Things have since started to turn, which is why we recently switched our Stanley Cup prediction. In this series specifically, Colorado's offense flamed out after Game 2 and picking up a 2-0 lead. They've totaled five goals over the past three games, all of which have been losses.

nhl golden knights odds

This offensive drop has coincided with a defensive collapse. Credit to goalkeeper Philipp Grubauer for doing his darndest. He's still posting a save percentage verging on 92, and the Avalanche have not put anyone else between the posts. But their position players are letting up too many clean looks at the net. The Golden Knights have attempted 169 shots to the Avalanche's 130 in this series. That math is never going to work out in Colorado's favor unless Grubauer is pitching perfect games.

It turns out Vegas was wildly undervalued heading into this series. They, too, had a top-three offense and defense. People just had more issues with the stamina of their goalies, and how their offense would handle a tougher opponent.

The question is: Will they close it out in Game 6?

We lean no. Four consecutive losses would be unheard of for a team as good as the Avalanche. We're betting they put it together for at least one more night.

OSB Game 6 Prediction: Colorado Avalanche (+122)

Avalanche To beat the Golden Knights

Series Price: Vegas Golden Knights (-340) vs. Colorado Avalanche (+285)

Statistically speaking, teams that jump out to 3-2 series leads in the NHL wind up winning the best-of-seven battle more than two-thirds of the time. That bodes extremely well for the Golden Knights, and it explains why oddsmakers are so bullish on their emerging from the second round.

And yet, if you believe that Colorado can force a Game 7, their series price of nearly 3-to-1 has to whet your whistle. We're right there with you. 

The way Vegas is scoring right now feels unsustainable, even for them. Letting up 11 goals in the past three games is an anomaly for a defense as stingy as the one fielded by Colorado. These next two games have a good chance of turning into slugfests, and we like the odds of Nathan MacKinnon having his long-awaited breakout game.

Call us foolish, but we're rolling the dice on a come-from-behind series win.

OSB Series Prediction: Colorado Avalanche (+285)

Avalanche To beat the Golden Knights

Series Price: Tampa Bay Lightning (-285) vs. New York Islanders (+240)

Take it from people who have the Lightning winning the Stanley Cup: The Islanders are legit.

Nobody expected them to make it past the first round, let alone get into Round 3. They scrapped and clawed their way into the playoffs on the back of their defense, with an offense that failed to impress and couldn't score at a consistently average clip.

So much for the latter. The Islanders' offense has verged on otherworldly during the postseason. Look no further than what they did to the heavily favored Boston Bruins in the second round. They outscored them 22-17 over six games, a stretch that included tallying four or more goals four times while trashing Boston in Game 6-2. Mathew Barzal and Kyle Palmieri are playing out of their minds right now, and Jordan Eberle has been dropping nifty passes left and right.

tampa bay lightning odds

All of that said, the Lightning are our Stanley Cup favorites for a reason. They have pummeled opponents through two rounds. Their plus-12 goal differential is the second largest in the playoffs, and it'd be first if not for Colorado's easy-street matchup in the first round.

What's more, it hasn't even been Tampa Bay's offense carrying them night to night. Sure, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point are annihilating defenses at times. But it has been the Lightning's own defense ferrying their hopes. They are forcing a ton of live-game turnovers, and goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy has been outstanding. He posted a save percentage of 94 in the second round alone.

Tempting though the Islanders' +240 series price may be, we need to go with the superior team here. This series is, for now, the Lightning's to lose.

OSB Series Prediction: -285

Lightning To beat the Islanders

Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your NHL betting:

Meet the author

Eric Uribe

Eric has been passionate about sports since he was 10 years old. He brings over 10 years of sports journalism experience to his expert coverage of sports betting. Hailing from the US, Eric leverages his diverse expertise covering sports at all levels – from high schoo...

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