Free NHL Pick: Islanders To Beat Stamkos-less Lightning This Monday

Dana Lane

Monday, April 4, 2016 2:00 PM GMT

Can the New York Islanders take advantage of the huge injury to Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos and be a worthy NHL betting pick on tonight's Hockey action?

The betting public is pounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and I have a hard time understanding why.  After Steven Stamkos delivered a harsh speech to his teammates about commitment and how they are letting the guys in the lockeroom down he now finds himself having to watch from the sidelines as he has most likely played his last game in a Lightning uniform.

Losing him means losing your captain and a dynamic scorer.  You could make the case that perhaps the room would be a little happier without him considering all they had to endure this past trade line before General Manager, Steve Yzerman, decided not to trade the center even though Jon Cooper isn't a fan of playing him there.  Cooper would rather have him on the wing which has created a riff between the two. Stamkos will be out 1-3 months with a blood clot which means he could be back in the playoffs. 

Tampa will also be without defensemen Anton Stralman, will be out with a fractured fibula. Stralman is one of their top two d-men who can log a ton of minutes taking pressure off of depth guys.  Without his presence you will see guys like Nikita Nesterov and Matt Carle with more pressure to pick up for the loss.

Despite all that it seems as if bettors can't get enough of the Lightning. New York opened at a proper -125 favorite on the NHL Odds, only to see the Lightning become as much as a -115 underdog in some spots. I know Ben Bishop has played well lately but he has allowed seven goals in the last two meetings with New York and has not shown the ability to go on the road and beat quality teams.  In their last 61 games against teams you would consider solid home teams Tampa is 16-45. 

Tampa finished 4-2 on their homestand but scored only eight goals in their last four games compared to the 13 they scored in the first two games. Now you take out your leading goal scorer and the public expects that to cause a positive trend? Couple that with the trend of Tampa losing seven of their last eight against New York on the road.  Tampa put up seven goals in a 7-4 victory over New York, March 25th but you can't financially back a team, based on that effort, when two of Tampa's best players wont suit up. 

In true Stamkos fashion, Islanders leader Jonathan Tavaras stood up and voiced his displeasure with the way the Islanders had been playing so let's anticipate a better effort from that.  

True, New York have their own injuries but none as significant as Stamkos, including starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak.  back-up Thomas Griess has started to catch fire as he has allowed only four goals on his last 51 shots faced, good for a .921 save percentage.

I don't see any reason not the back the Islanders as your NHL Pick at Barclays where they are 24-10-4 on the year.

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Free NHL Pick:  Islanders -107
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

@DanaLaneSports