Game 3 NHL Picks: Lightning's Goaltending Situation Coupled with Blackhawks Offense Doesn't Mean OVER's a Lock

Ross Benjamin

Monday, June 8, 2015 3:52 PM UTC

Monday, Jun. 8, 2015 3:52 PM UTC

Our NHL handicapping professional is having a terrific playoff run, and that includes 2-0 thus far in the Stanley Cup Finals. Join us in reading his betting preview article on Game 3 tonight.

Stanley Cup Finals Back to Chicago for Game 3
The 2015 Stanley Cup Finals series heads back to Chicago for Game 3 tonight tied up at 1-1. According to the NHL odds at Wagerweb, Chicago is a -150 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.5. These teams provided us with an extremely exciting and entertaining Game 2 on Saturday which was won by the Lightning 4-3. Although there were only a combined 53 shots on goal, the end to end action provided by these teams displayed why they’ve reached this pinnacle.


Who’s in Goal for Tampa Bay?
There’s a lot of uncertainty regarding the Tampa Bay goaltending situation heading into tonight. Ben Bishop inexplicably removed himself late in the third period of Game 2 with the score 3-3 at the time. I must give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he sustained an injury which prevented him from continuing. He was replaced by 21 year old Andrei Vasilevsky who displayed good poise considering the immense pressure of the situation at hand. This is the part of the NHL Playoffs that can be a nightmare for writers and media alike. Teams very seldom, if at all, disclose the nature or severity for any injury during the playoffs unless it’s of the season ending variety. Vague phrases like upper or lower body injury reign supreme. Unfortunately there’s no league mandate in that regard like the NFL has in place.


Postseason Home Ice Advantage for Hawks Paying Dividends
The Chicago Blackhawks were just 24-17 at home during the regular season. However, it’s been a much different story in the playoffs for this veteran group. They’ve gone a dominating 7-1 at the United Center in Chicago during this postseason. Their only loss in that sequence occurred in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals when they fell 2-1 to Anaheim.

Must Read: Lightning-Blackhawks Game 3 Prop Betting Odds

Final Analysis
Whoever is in goal for Tampa Bay tonight won’t deter them from playing the style they’ve displayed during these playoffs when on the road. They’ve not only gone 7-3 in away games this postseason, they’re also 6-3-1 under the total, and allowed two goals or less in their last nine. As a matter of fact, during their four games at Madison Square Garden in the Eastern Conference Finals, they allowed only a combined four goals, and that included a pair of shutouts in Games 5 and 7. Considering they’re facing a high powered offensive team like Chicago, and the question marks surrounding their goaltending situation, I look for the Lightning to play a tight checking conservative style tonight on the road. Consequently, I’ll be leaning toward a low scoring game for one of my NHL picks. After surfing through the major sportsbook lines pertaining to this game, Pinnacle provides me with the best price.

NHL Pick: Play on Tampa Bay and Chicago Under 5.5 (-128) at Pinnacle

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