Break The Rules & Side With Lightning For Your NHL Picks Over Red Wings

Dana Lane

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 1:56 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 1:56 PM UTC

With Tampa chasing Florida for the Atlantic lead, expect the Lightning to come in strong when hosting Detroit. We're breaking the rules here, but don't miss our sharp NHL pick.

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Free NHL Pick: Tampa -152
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Recent Trends & History
Currently ranked 9th in my power rankings, the Lightning can make a drastic move upwards if they continue to extend their current six game winning streak at Amalie Arena. This is the Lightning's longest win streak since a 2014 stretch that reached ten games. Tampa have beaten Detroit four straight times in the regular season, however, in those four games Tampa has allowed only five goals. Many in the Tampa lockeroom are treating this game as a trend setter for the rest of the season, while trying to wipe away the memories of the first two match-ups this season.

In both match-ups, Tampa Goaltender, Ben Bishop, allowed four total goals and owns a strong 1.22 goals against average in his last four oppurtunities against the Wings. Who could forget his spectacular preformance in a game seven playoff against Detroit last April. Watching November's 2-1 loss, I felt Tampa was the better team and probably would have stolen both road wins if the Redwings defense wasn't so spectacular. D Jakub Kindl, who is now playing for Grand Rapids, played his best game in game two while not one Wings defensemen had a negative +/- rating.

On both occasions, Detroit didn't allow the Lightning to use their speed to get deep in the zone in front of Jimmy Howard, who finished with 29 saves. On the flip side, Detroit was able to access the Lightning zone quite easily as Tampa's defensive depth was a glaring weakness. I suspect the Lightning will play a dump and chase game that will enable them to use their speed to create scroring oppurtunities. Even though both games resulted in road loses, the difference from game one to game two was a positive one for the Lightning. Howard has since given way to Petr Mrazek who has not faired as well against Tampa. Although Mrazek has a decent goals against (2.29), he has dropped five of his last nine games against them.

Lightning Center, Steven Stamkos, the subject of many trade rumors has three points in his last three regular season games against the Wings. Stamkos, who has a no movement clause in his contract, could also be on display for a team like Detroit who has $1.8 million available in cap space. The thought of being on the same line with Dylan Larkin has to create some interest, so look for the Lightnings best scoring option to be on top of his game while looking for a team with more offensive depth.


Betting Analysis
As I write this, it appears there is even action coming in, so I'm not sure if we are going to reach our comfort level of -150 or lower on the NHL odds boards for our NHL picks. Even if it isn't exactly where we would like it, don't fall victim to thinking that you could lay -1.5 and get the bigger return. With a spread record of 18-31, a $100 player would have lost close to $1,000 playing the Lightning on the puck line this season. Although we will personally pass on this game right now, it would be Tampa or nothing for me.

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