NHL Playoff Preview: New York at Tampa Bay, Game 1
On Wednesday night, the New York Islanders will be in Tampa Bay to open their Eastern Conference semifinal best-of-7 series. The Lightning have had a long time to wait for this game, as they won their quarterfinal series over Detroit in five games, while the Islanders just knocked off the Florida Panthers in a terrific double-overtime Game 6. The Islanders are the plucky wild card team that eliminated a division champ, while the Lightning hold the second seed in the Atlantic Division. Find out the updated NHL online betting lines here.
NHL Playoff Preview: New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning
When: Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 7:00pm Eastern time
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL
Radio: Lightning Radio Network
Live Stream: NHL-Stream.com
NHL Odds: TBA
Why should you bet on New York?
The Islanders went to overtime three times in the first round against Florida, and they won all three of those games. That experience will build all kinds of confidence in a young team that now faces the Lightning, who went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals a year ago. The Islanders got terrific leadership from captain John Tavares, who scored the overtime winners in two of those games. He has five goals and four assists in the playoffs so far, and he has a total of 20 points in his last 12 games. Just as important, Thomas Greiss was a pleasant surprise in goal, stoning the Panthers with 88 saves in Games 5 and 6.
Why should you put your money on the Lightning?
Tampa Bay definitely benefited from some rest in lead-in to this series. They had several key injuries, and they had other contributors dinged up in the first round. The fact that the Lightning made a deep playoff run last year gives them a leg up on experience. Their goaltender, Ben Bishop, is better than Greiss, at least on paper. He made 152 saves on 160 shots in the series against Detroit for an otherworldly .950 save percentage. In his postseason career, Bishop has a .926 save percentage and a 2.08 GAA. The Lightning also killed off 96% (24 for 25) of the Red Wings’ penalties in the opening round, so the Islanders may not be able to get much momentum on their power play.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
I like the Lightning to enjoy the long layoff and use their swarming offense to take the game to the Islanders. I’m predicting a 4-2 Tampa Bay victory.