The Tampa Bay Lightning shocked a lot of people when they went into Chicago and won Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals. Now they have a chance to take a 3-1 series chokehold if they can win Game 4.
The Tampa Bay Lightning Can Win Because…
They have been the better team this series. When you start to crunch the numbers, had the Lightning not blown their lead late in Game 1, they’d be ahead 3-0 in this series. They outplayed the Blackhawks in Game 1, they outplayed them in Game 2 and the same rang true in Game 3. They just need to continue doing what they’ve been doing and they’ll be in great shape.
Even better news for Tampa Bay is that they’ve done a lot of damage so far this series without much assistance from their top line. Steve Stamkos has yet to register a single point in the Stanley Cup final. He hasn’t tallied in five straight games but if he gets going, this is going to be a very difficult situation for Chicago.
Tampa Bay has proven that they won’t be intimidated. There is no quit in this team and everyone who was writing them off after Game 1 has had to revisit their predictions. They are in great shape heading into Game 4.
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
They’ve played great at home this postseason and they are likely to get back on track in Game 4. While Tampa Bay has dominated this series, the truth is that Chicago has yet to play their best game and they are still down just 2-1 in this series. When you start to crunch the numbers in terms of their performance, it’s pretty clear that they have room for improvement. Jonathan Toews has just one point in this series and Patrick Kane has yet to get on the board at all. Those guys are not going to be held down indefinitely, so look for them to show up in Game 4 and make a difference. They typically do when the Blackhawks need them the most.
Chicago is 7-2 at home this postseason – including the loss in Game 3 – and that shows just how tough they are on their home ice. Although Tampa Bay has been a good road team these playoffs, don’t expect them to sweep Chicago on their ice. It’s unlikely.
The Blackhawks are a sizable favorite on the NHL betting lines for Game 4 but it makes sense. They opened -155 at The Greek and are sitting as high as -160 at Bet365. I don’t like laying more than -140 in hockey games but this is a spot where I’ll make the exception. Chicago is unlikely to lose twice on their home ice to the Lightning and I expect the Blackhawks to finally play their best game of the series in this spot. Lay the juice with the Blackhawks for your NHL picks.
NHL Pick: Blackhawks -155 at The Greek