NHL Picks: Lightning Expected To Strike Islanders Where It Hurts

Dana Lane

Friday, March 25, 2016 3:10 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 25, 2016 3:10 PM UTC

Lightning are closeto leading the Atlantic Division while the N.Y Islanders could find themselves on the outside of the playoffs with a loss. See our NHL picks inside. 

N.Y. Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
We are looking at two teams that could see allot of each other by the end of April. This potential first round match-up features an Islanders team that has slid way down my power ratings now sitting at number nine while the Lightning, a Stanley Cup contender and currently sitting on a -150 line on the NHL odds, are third. If the Lightning win the Atlantic division and New York finishes with the top wild card spot they will meet in the first round. 

This is an important Homestand for Tampa as they play their second of six games. To end the season, the Lightning are faced with a four game trip that will include the Islanders in Brooklyn.

It seems the top three in the Atlantic are no strangers to slumps as the Lightning are climbing out of a stretch that saw them get one regulation win in six games. Florida went through an earlier slump while Boston is currently in their worst slide this year. 

Look for a conscience effort to put allot of pucks on Islanders netminder, Thomas Griess. Tampa have split their last six games but in victory the Lightning average 35.7 shots per game while in defeat they are managing only 22. They must get to the net more instead of always trying to make the extra or fancy pass. You could say the jury is still out when it comes to Griess due to his 1-4-1 record with a 2.64 goals against average since replacing injured starter Jaroslav Halak March 8th. The Islanders don't appear to skate as well in front of Griess which is an indication of a teams confidence in their goaltender. If you don't have confidence in the guy in the crease you are a little less likely to bring your defensemen up in the play for fear that they will get pinched causing a breakaway. 

Lightning Goaltender, Ben Bishop, has been fantastic as of late posting a 1.51 goals against average and a .951 save percentage in a span that has seen him win three of four with two shutouts. Since the 2013-2014 season he is 3-1-1 with a 1.92 goals against average against the Islanders.


Betting Analysis
The Lightning have not had a great deal of success against the New York this season dropping their last three meetings. This is an important game in the standings but if these two are to meet in the playoffs, the psychological edge for New York would be huge with a fourth straight win. 

The road hasn't been kind to the Islanders where they've dropped five straight games including a bad loss to the Maple Leafs and a shutout loss against Dallas when they allowed 36 Stars shots. In those five game the Islanders have only managed seven goals. This is concerning because it appears that Lightning Head Coach, John Cooper is going with a more defensive lineup with injuries to Ryan Callahan and Valtteri Filppula who will be a game time decision tonight. 

We are backing Tampa as our NHL pick in this one until the Islanders can return to form.

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NHL Pick: Tampa Bay -150
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


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