To the delight of NHL bettors, we have reached Game 6 of the playoff series between Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning, scheduled to take place on Tuesday.
Montreal Attempts to Force Once Improbable Game 7
The Tampa Bay Lightning will attempt to close out their Eastern Conference Semifinal series for the third straight game when they host Montreal on Tuesday at 8:05 PM ET. Tampa Bay jumped out to a 3-0 series lead, and Montreal has bounced back to win each of the last two games. According to the NHL betting odds at Heritage, Tampa Bay is a -139 money line favorite, and the posted total is 4.5.
Awful Special Teams in Playoffs
The Montreal Canadiens have managed to get to this point of the postseason despite terrible special teams play, and that may be putting it nicely. During these 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Montreal has gone just 2-for-34 (5.9%) on the power play. Their penalty killing has also been horrible, allowing opponents to covert on 28.9% of their man advantage opportunities. They’ll need to be much better in those regards on Tuesday if they hope to play in a Game 7 at home.
Pressure Squarely on Lightning in Game 6
The Tampa Bay Lightning was seemingly in total control of this series by winning the first three games. After all, going into Game 4 they had defeated Montreal on eight consecutive occasions this season with regular season meetings included. In addition, they possessed the best home record (32-9) during the regular season. Well as the old sports cliché goes, “that’s why they play the games.” The Lightning were routed at home 6-2, and then dropped a closely contest 2-1 decision in Game 5 on Saturday at Montreal. After being so dominant at home during the regular season, the Lightning is a less than impressive 3-3 in that role during the playoffs. Now they face the prospect of having to win on Tuesday, or returning to the Bell Centre in Montreal if they fail. With the exception of Game 4 in this series, Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop has been exceptional in the playoffs, evidenced by a 1.88 GAA in twelve starts.
There have been just four teams in the long history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that have overcome 3-0 series deficits to win. However, in my many years of handicapping the playoffs, I’ve seen teams come back from a 3-0 hole to win the next two games, and then run out of gas in Game 6. That’s especially been the case when playing on the road. I picked Tampa Bay to win this series before it began, and I’m sticking to my guns in that regard. I’m siding with the home favorite in this game for one of my NHL picks.
NHL Picks: Play on Tampa Bay -139.