NHL Playoff Preview: Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh, Game 1
On Friday night, the NHL Eastern Conference finals begin as Tampa Bay, the runner-up in the Atlantic Division, meets Pittsburgh, the runner-up in the Metropolitan Division. Tampa Bay eliminated Detroit and the wild-card New York Islanders to make the finals, while Pittsburgh eliminated the New York Rangers and then the Washington Capitals. Find the latest NHL online betting odds here.
NHL Playoff Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 1
When: Friday, May 13, 2016, 8:00 PM Eastern time
Where: CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh
Radio: WXDX 105.9 FM The X Pittsburgh
Live Stream: NHL-Stream.com
NHL Odds: TBA
Why should you bet on Tampa Bay?
The fortunes of the Lightning begin with goaltender Ben Bishop, one of the nominees for the Vezina Trophy, and the best playoff goalie still on the ice right now. He has been in five games in the past two seasons in which his team stood to clinch a postseason series, and he permitted one goal — total — with four shutouts. Victor Hedman is a monster up front, causing chaos throughout the opposition’s defense, and Nikita Kucherov (9 goals all by himself) has combined with Tyler Johnson for 25 total points. The Lightning has outscored the opposition 13-4 in the third period and 2-0 in overtime in the postseason so far this year.
Why should you put your money on the Penguins?
The Penguins have eliminated the Rangers and the Caps by using a “shock and awe” offense to make opponents back off, allowing them to get into the attacking zone easily. That’s why they average 3.36 goals per game in the postseason — and they have four lines that can all score. Bringing in Trevor Daley and Kris Letang has shored up the defensive corps, and as a result 15 Penguins have tallied goals in the postseason. The line of Nick Bonino, Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin have been the best, but this is a team that is scary on offense for all 60 minutes.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
Pittsburgh already solved two outstanding playoff goalies in Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby. I like them to jump out to a big start and deliver a 3-1 win.