Lightning's Epic Comeback Makes Them the NHL Pick Over Mentally Fragile Red Wings

Ross Benjamin

Friday, April 24, 2015 5:12 PM GMT

Our NHL consultant has gone an outstanding 11-4-2 during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He’ll be covering Game 5 of the playoff series between Detroit and Tampa Bay and this betting preview article concludes with a puck line pick.

Pivotal Game 5 in Tampa on Saturday between Wings and Bolts
The Tampa Bay Lightning will host Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal playoff series versus the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday at 6:05 PM ET. The series is tied at 2-2, and both teams were able to gain a split on the road in the first four games of the series. According to the NHL betting odds at Bookmaker, Tampa Bay is a -185 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. Since the start of the 2012-2013 NHL campaign, the Lightning has gone 5-1 versus Detroit in Tampa. The only loss in that sequence came in the opening game of this series by a narrow 3-2 margin, despite the Lightning holding a huge 46-14 shots on goal advantage.

 

Wings squander a Golden Opportunity
If the Red Wings eventually lose this series, they’ll have many sleepless nights over the summer thinking about the last five minutes of regulation, and then overtime, during their gut wrenching 3-2 Game 4 home loss. Detroit was seemingly in full control with a 2-0 lead with less than six minutes to play in the third period. They had a 3-1 series lead in their sights, and then came a complete meltdown. The Lightning rallied to score two goals in the final five minutes, and then ultimately won in overtime. Fortunately for the Red Wings, they still have time to dissolve the potential nightmare by regrouping starting on Saturday. The biggest challenge for Red Wings players in Game 5 may be above the neck and not below it.

Check out our Predictions for the Eastern Conference & 1st round picks

Lightning Strikes
The Tampa Bay Lightning has a new lease on their playoff lives. After being shutout for better than 114-minutes in Detroit during Games 3 and 4, they were able to dig deep and pull out a crucial win to avoid going down 3-1 in the series. They now return home where they’ve gone a NHL best 33-10 versus the money line this season. Saturday may be bigger than any of those previous forty-four played on home ice. A win will assure them a Game 7 at home. Contrarily, a loss will result in them facing elimination in Game 6 at Detroit. Considering that they’ve gone just 19-24 on the road this season, the latter scenario is one that they surely will want to avoid at all costs.

 

Final Analysis
I can’t help but think that Detroit will have an extremely difficult time recovering mentally from the disaster that occurred at home in Game 4. On the opposite end of the spectrum, that epic comeback by the Lightning on Thursday may be just what the doctor ordered for this supremely talented club. I’m going to have a lean toward a puck-line selection on the home team for one of my NHL picks on Saturday.

NHL Pick: Tampa Bay -1.5 (+167) on the puck-line over Detroit at 5-Dimes.