Free NHL Picks: Stars Fire-Power Will Prevail Against Lightning

Dana Lane

Thursday, March 17, 2016 3:31 PM GMT

The Lightning can move into a tie with a regulation victory and a Panther regulation loss. The Dallas Stars are in a 1st place tie with the Blues but this is their game as our NHL pick. 

Both teams are looking for a little redemption after dropping games that they were expected to win. It's not as much of a surprise that the Dallas Stars dropped a 5-2 decision, Tuesday, to the Los Angeles Kings in the third game of their 5 game homestand after much of the focus was surely put on the Chicago Blackhawks, a 5-2 win, and the St.Louis Blues, a 5-4 overtime loss. The Stars were probably pretty happy with getting three out of a possible four points against the two teams they are battling for first overall in the Central Division. The loss to the Kings broke a five game point streak, which moved the betting odds lines for this game.

 

Dallas Stars
I still find myself questioning the quality of the Dallas goaltenders. Antti Niemi (22-12-7, 2.76 GA) will start for Dallas tonight. I've said it all along that the Dallas Stars offense has to be great in order to overcome their flaws in net. Niemi replaced Kari Lehtonen against the Kings 1:07 into the second period and stopped 10 of the next 11 Kings shots. Against the Blues Saturday, Niemi made 31 saves but gave up five goals. Both of their goaltenders are fighting each other for the worst save percentage in the league.

When describing his team against Los Angeles he used the word 'Casual". Well, Lindy, that's on you and if your team doesn't find another notch in their belt you could very well be a first round exit. 

We are going to back the Stars tonight but it's imperative to have their Stars starting showing up in the goal column again. When Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are held scoreless the Stars are just 3-8-5. Overall their top line has played well recently that's why I'm willing to chalk up the Kings loss as a loss of focus. Jason Spezza, Benn, and Seguin all have four points in their last three games.  

One piece of good news is that there is a chance that defensemen John Klingberg return for Dallas. Having their top D-man out really hurt when is imperative that you protect your goaltenders.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning
I know the Toronto Maple leafs are playing better but they are still the worst team in NHL picks. For them to dominate the Lightning they way they did Tuesday, a 4-1 loss, it make me pause when having to back them when stepping up in competition. Remember when handicapping you have to determine your belief in a team when coming off a bad loss. We have to determine if it was an anomaly or the start of a trend because you need to be aware of the NHL odds boards and how they influence on the team's fans ranking. The Lightning have started a trend that has seen them score just eight goals in a 1-3-1 span. 

I think the Lightning and Dallas are evenly matched but we're siding with the home team when I'm not sure if the Lightning can match the Stars firepower right now even if I'm not crazy about Niemi.

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Free NHL Pick: Stars -109
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes