Free NHL Picks for Lightning vs. Penguins

David Lawrence

Saturday, March 22, 2014 12:42 PM GMT

Saturday, Mar. 22, 2014 12:42 PM GMT

Two of the biggest stars in the NHL will square off on Saturday in Pittsburgh as the Penguins host Tampa Bay. Find out why we have decided to look at the total with our NHL picks tonight.

Steven Stamkos would have likely played with Sidney Crosby on Team Canada’s top line in Sochi had he been cleared from a leg injury, but Stamkos is rounding into form for the red-hot Lightning and the Pens will have their hands full.

Pittsburgh has the upper hand in this matchup with eight straight wins over the Lightning, but streaks are made to come to an end and Tampa Bay will aim to do just that on Saturday afternoon.

 

The Tampa Bay Lightning Can Win Because…..
The Lightning have definitely been inspired by the return of Stamkos, which was definitely needed after they traded a disgruntled Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers over his first exclusion from Team Canada (which was run by Lightning GM Steve Yzerman). They have won five in a row and Stamkos scored a hat trick in a win over Toronto on Wednesday. The Lightning’s offense has been cooking with 22 goals during that stretch. With Stamkos on the ice, teams are a little more spread out and they should be as Stamkos may be the most dynamic player in hockey outside of Crosby, and there are some that feel the sniper would win that battle. The power play has also been on fire, scoring in four of their five wins

If the defense can tighten up – they’ve allowed 14 goals during this winning streak – then they’ll have a good chance to cash in for your NHL picks.

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins Can Win Because……
They are at home. This is the beginning of a four-game home stand for the Penguins, who are 25-5-2 at home and are trying to keep pace with Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins have lost three of their last four and the defense has been poor, allowing 13 goals in those losses, but just one in their lone win. Pittsburgh has to snap out of their funk and home is a great place to do it.

They’re a team that can turn it up at any time. Crosby is probably the favorite for the Hart Trophy and he has a 15-point lead over Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf in the scoring race. He is one of the few players that can dominate a game by himself and with Stamkos coming to town, you know he will be up for that matchup. Not to mention, some teams just have another team’s number and the Penguins seem to have Tampa Bay’s, and they will try to keep that streak going on Saturday afternoon on their home ice.

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Outlook & Pick
It’s tough to lay the juice here with Pittsburgh slumping and Tampa Bay streaking. That’s why I’ll look to the over instead. Tampa Bay’s defense has been leaky and the over has cashed in nine of their last 11 games. The over has also cashed four straight meetings in Pittsburgh and in seven of the last nine meetings overall. That’s the best choice for your sports picks.

Hockey Pick: Over 5.5 at Bovada

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