NHL Picks: Back The Zealous Red Wings As They Snatch A Win vs. Lightning

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, April 21, 2016 2:27 PM GMT

Despite winning 5 games against Tampa Bay during last year's post-season, Red Wings are desperate for win against Lightning today. Find out what our capper's NHL pick is for this math-up.

2016 YTD NHL: 8-8-1, -1.70 Units

Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have gone up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals after a 3-2 win at the Detroit Red Wings in game 4. They now return home for game 5 in Tampa with a chance to close out the series. The NHL odds have opened in Tampa Bay’s favor, with the moneyline sitting at -155 at Bovada. The O/U total stays at 5 in this game and is almost even money across the board.

The 3-2 final in game 4 pushed on my pick for the game to go over the listed total of 5, but I stand by my analysis that the power plays would start to pay off for at least one of the teams. The Tampa Bay Lightning converted on 3 of their 5 power play chances on the night, where it was the Detroit Red Wings who failed to convert any of their 4 chances. The teams were a combined 2 for 31 on power play chances in the first three games of the series.

The score would have been higher if it were not for about a millimeter of post getting in the way late in the 3rd period, as a Detroit shot by Dylan Larkin was so close to going in it fooled the crowd and the goal-light guy. Tampa Bay’s win also paid +110 as they were a road underdog coming in.

Petr Mrazek and Ben Bishop
The penalties on each side were down considerably, as the game was played relatively cleanly except for a bit of a scuffle to begin the 2nd period. There were only 22 penalty minutes handed out in game 4, as opposed to 60 minutes in game 3.

Petr Mrazek saw more than double the shots as he did in game 3, as the Lightning peppered him with 33 shots compared with just 16 shots faced in the prior game. The Lightning outshot the Red Wings in periods 1 and 2, ending the game with a 33-28 shot advantage. Nikita Kucherov was fantastic on the power play for Tampa Bay, scoring the first two goals with a man-advantage and adding an assist in the 3rd period for the winning goal.

Ben Bishop was again outstanding for the Lightning, as he stopped 26 of 28 goals for a .929 save percentage on the night. It was the fourth game in a row that Detroit has scored only 2 goals against Bishop, a trend that if continues will spend the end of the season for the Red Wings sooner rather than later.

 

Betting Analysis
This series is setting up very similar to last year, where Detroit returned to Tampa Bay for game 5 of their postseason series tied 2-2, and was listed as a +165 underdog. Detroit ended up winning that game 5 by a score of 4-0, as Petr Mrazek shut out the Lightning by saving 28 shots. Detroit was having issues in that series too scoring on special teams, but finally converted 2 of their 4 chances in that game.

Detroit hasn’t faired well at all in Tampa over the last 3 seasons though, as the Lightning hold a 10-2 SU advantage on home ice. This will be desperation time for Detroit though, and like game 3, I expect their defensive intensity to give them an edge. I likely will take Tampa in the next game, but I saw enough glimpses of strong play by the Red Wings to take the plus odds as one of my NHL picks for tonight.

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Free NHL Pick: Detroit Red Wings (+135)
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker