Free NHL Picks: Isles vs. Lightning Game 5 Promises Many Goals

Ross Benjamin

Sunday, May 8, 2016 3:03 PM GMT

Our sports handicapping professional has gone a terrific 23-13 in all sports during the past sixteen days. Go inside for his NHL pick on Sunday’s game between Islanders and Lightning.

Isles Backs against the Wall
The New York Islanders will look to stave off elimination on Sunday afternoon in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals in Tampa. After winning the opening game of the series, New York has lost three straight, and that includes a pair of gut wrenching overtime defeats on home ice. The opening faceoff at Amalie Arena is slated for 3:05 PM ET. Current NHL odds at BetOnline indicates that Tampa Bay is a -173 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. Including the playoffs, these clubs have met seven times this season, and Tampa Bay won on four of those occasions. Those seven games have also gone 4-1-2 over the total.

 

Reason for Hope
This is the fifth time that the Islanders have lost three games in a row this season. However, they’ve lost four in a row just once during this 2015-2016 NHL campaign. New York is a respectable 23-23 during away games, and has gone 3-2 during this postseason on the road. With all things being considered, Thomas Greiss has been rock solid in goal during the playoffs, going 5-5 with a stellar .928 save percentage. Greiss has faced 39 or more shots on goal in five of his ten postseason starts. The Islanders special teams play has been very good during these 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, going 21.1% on the power play, and killing off 86.2% of their opponent’s man advantage opportunities.


 

Resiliency and Character
Tampa Bay is displaying why reaching last season’s Stanley Cup Finals has paid dividends. Part of that experience has made them cognizant of how tough it is to close out a series, against an opponent playing with a high degree of urgency and desperation. Head Coach John Cooper has been adept at keeping his team on an even keel, and is sure to remind his players that they’re a couple of unlucky bounces away from being down instead of up 3-1 in this series. Furthermore, despite being without key players like Steven Stamkos, Anaton Stralman, and J.T. Brown due to injuries, they’ve gone a combined 7-2 thus during these playoffs. The Lightning will be out to win their second consecutive series in exactly five games on Sunday.

 

Final Take and Pick
The one thing that keeps flashing in my mind pertaining to this game today, involves the occasional clunker Ben Bishop has been prone to turn in during the past two postseasons. Bishop was pulled from games on three separate occasions due to poor play during the 2015 playoffs, and was also yanked in Game 1 of this series after allowing 4 goals on just 13 Islander shots on net.

Thomas Greiss has more than held his own after #1 goaltender Jaroslav Halak was sidelined by an injury late in the regular season. However, this will be the first time in his career he’ll be playing in a game which his team is facing playoff elimination.

Relative to the current total, I’ll have a small lean toward this game being a high scoring affair, and one of my Sunday NHL picks will be indicative of that notion.

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Free NHL Pick: Over 5 -119
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline