Tampa Bay vs New York NHL Free Pick
The first semifinal round in the Stanley Cup playoffs will feature the New York Islanders and the Florida Panthers. The Lightning hold the second seed from the Atlantic Division and eliminated the third seed Detroit Red Wings, 4 games to 1, in the quarterfinal round. The Islanders hold one of the wild cards from the Eastern Conference and eliminated the Atlantic Division Florida Panthers from the postseason, winning three overtime contests in a 4-2 series win. These two teams have not met in the postseason since 2004, when they tangled in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The Lightning held the top seed that year, while the Islanders were the #8 seed. Tampa Bay advanced in five games, with Martin St. Louis scoring the overtime winner in the last game, and Tampa Bay would go all the way to hoist the Stanley Cup. The series opens Wednesday night in Tampa Bay. Find out the latest NHL betting lines here.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Islanders NHL Free Pick
Why should you bet on New York to win?
The Islanders won the season series between these two teams, winning twice in regulation while the Lightning picked up one win. They last played on April 4, with the Islanders rolling to a 5-2 win. Captain John Tavares tallied a goal and two assists. On offense in the quarterfinal round, Tavares also led the way, tallying five goals including two of the goals that brought overtime games to an end. Thomas Greiss took the net in relief of injured Jaroslva Halak and was nothing but spectacular, posting a .944 save percentage that is just slightly below the amazing .950 save percentage that the Tampa Bay netminder, Ben Bishop, posted in their opening round tattooing of the Detroit Red Wings.
Why should you put your money on the Lightning to win?
The Lightning have all sorts of playoff experience, as they made it to the Stanley Cup finals against last year before falling to the Chicago Blackhawks. They also have rest on their side, as they will have had five days off between the end of their quarterfinal series and the opener against the Islanders. While the Lightning are still missing captain Steven Stamkos, who remains day-to-day with a blood clot issue, Nikita Kucherov picked up the slack in the quarterfinals, scoring five goals, as did Tyler Johnson, who posted five assists and a salty +6 plus/minus rating. Defenseman Anton Stralman (fractured fibula) also remains day-to-day, but the Lightning defensive corps was more than able to rein in the plucky Red Wings.
Expert Pick and Final Series Prediction
The Islanders are riding high on momentum right now, but they will find a more potent offense in Tampa Bay than what they faced against the Panthers. New York will make this an explosive series, but I’m predicting Tampa Bay in seven.