Islanders vs. Lightning NHL Picks: 'Capper Unimpressed By Ben Bishop

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 2:43 PM GMT

Our NHL betting expert previews Wednesday’s opening game of the series between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. Go inside before making any of your NHL picks today.

NY Islanders/Tampa Bay Lightning Game 1 Preview
The Lightning and Islanders will play Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series on Wednesday at Amalie Arena in Tampa. The opening faceoff is slated for 7:05 PM ET. Current (8:55 AM ET) NHL odds at Bookmaker has Tampa Bay as a -155 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. These teams have met three times during regular season play, and the Islanders won on two of those occasions. There was a combined average of 8.3 goals scored per game during those three encounters.

 

Islanders Resume
Despite earning 100 points during regular season action, the Islanders qualified for postseason play as an Eastern Conference wild card. Consequently, they had a difficult first round draw against the Southeast Division champion Florida Panthers. The Islanders were able to advance by winning that series in six games. It must be noted, three of the Islanders four wins against Florida came via overtime. As a matter of fact, two of those three required two overtimes. You can either make the case that they’ve been a bit fortunate, or contrarily being battle tested, and I’ll lean toward the latter of those two notions. The Islanders were able to win twice on the road during that series, and have now gone 5-1 during their previous six away games.

 

Greiss up to the Challenge
After spending the majority of this season as a backup to Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss assumed the role as the Islanders #1 goalie. He’s certainly seized the opportunity, and that’s especially been the case since postseason action began. Greiss started in all six games of the Florida series, and had a terrific .944 save percentage. He was called upon to make 41 saves or more on three separate occasions through the course of those six games.

 

Lightning Strikes on Injury Front
Tampa Bay has sustained recent injuries to key players the likes of Steven Stamkos, J.T. Brown, and Aaron Stroman. However, they exhibited the depth of their roaster by eliminating Detroit in five games during the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. We do have to keep that series win in proper perspective. Detroit was able to back their way into the playoffs as a result of another late season meltdown by Boston.

On a more positive note, Tampa Bay saw very little change to personnel from a team that advanced to the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals. That type of experience will be an extremely valuable asset during this go around, and that was surely evident against the Red Wings. The Lightning won all three of their home games versus Detroit, and they’re 28-16 (.636) overall at Amalie Arena.

 

Ben Bishop
Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop was terrific in the Detroit series. He started all five games, allowed just a total of 8 goals, and had a superb .950 save percentage. There’s a red flag that’s waving in my face pertaining to Bishop. He started all three regular season games versus the Islanders, and had a horrible .842 save percentage during those outings.

During Tampa Bay’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals a season ago, he was spectacular at times, and on the opposite side of the spectrum during more than one occasion. Case in point, he was removed from games on three separate occasions due to poor performances in last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

Final Take and Pick
Do you want to know how important winning the opening game of a series is? Seven of the eight first round series have been completed, and Nashville and Anaheim will play a deciding Game 7 tonight. All seven teams that advanced won the opening games of their Quarterfinals series. Since I already picked the Islanders to win this series, then they’ll be one of my NHL picks on Wednesday.

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Free NHL Pick: Islanders +135.
Best Line Offered: at YouWager