NHL Betting Guide: Saturday 6/19/21

Semyon Varlamov has a 93.7% save percentage on home ice this postseason. Should you bet on him to backstop the Islanders to a Game 4 victory?

Game 4 of the New York Islanders-Tampa Bay Lightning series gets going at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 8 p.m. EST on Saturday night. The Islanders are down 2-1 in the series and cannot afford to head back to Tampa down 3-1. What do our projections say about their chances?

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New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Islanders moneyline (+118): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Islanders +1.5 (-255): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

What's not reflected in the Lightning's 2-1 series lead is that the Islanders have been the better team throughout this series. New York has posted an expected goals-for percentage above 50.0% at five-on-five in all three games and above 50.0% across all strengths in two of three games.

The Islanders are getting things done on both ends of the ice, out-chancing the Lightning in high-danger chances at five-on-five in each game and out-shooting them in two of three. As expected, Tampa Bay's metrics took a hit in Game 3 as the visitors. That was the third time in four games that the Islanders failed to eclipse nine high-danger chances across all strengths and the seventh straight road game in which they posted an expected goals-for percentage below 50.0%.

The difference over the last two games is that Semyon Varlamov has been less effective at stopping high-danger shots. Varlamov has stopped just 7 of 11 high-danger chances for a high-danger save percentage of 63.6% at five-on-five. That is a steep drop from the 85.4% high-danger save percentage that the Islanders' goalies have put up this postseason and an indicator that Varlamov is due for positive regression.

Conversely, the Lightning are due for regression. Tampa has put up the highest PDO in the playoffs, posting a combined shooting and save percentage above 1.000 in four of their last five games despite getting outplayed in three of those games. That puts the Bolts on an unsustainable path, which is incompatible with continued success.

Tampa is running out of luck, and they can't continue to get outplayed and win games. Per our projections, that correction period could start tonight as the Islanders have a 50.6% chance of winning. Relative to the Isles' price in the betting market, that leaves an edge in backing New York on Saturday night. We rate the Islanders moneyline and puckline wagers as one-star plays.