NHL Picks: Lightning Will Melt The Ice Under Injured Devils

Dana Lane

Friday, February 26, 2016 5:55 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 5:55 PM UTC

The Lightning must win to keep pace with the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division while the Devils are desperately trying to claw their way into a playoff spot. See who makes my top NHL pick. 

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils
The Lightning have had a few things to overcome lately but despite their hurdles they have been able to put up four straight victories. This is a huge game for both teams as they jockey for playoff position but one advantage for Tampa may be the fact that they are getting New Jersey in the second game of a back to back. After their road game against Columbus, the Devils had to hop on a plane to get back to Jersey only to play their second game in 24 hours.  

Devils goaltender, Corey Schneider had a long night against Columbus after allowing three goals on 11 shots in the 1st period. There may be a chance that we will see back-up Keith Kincaid between the pipes for the Devils but check the morning NHL odds boards to be sure. I wouldn't think the Lightning would be a road favorite with Schneider in nets. The Devils rely too heavily on Schneider to go far in the playoffs. The team has averaged 2.23 goals per game and only 24.6 shots per game both the worst in the NHL.

New Jersey are in need of a goal scorer and fast. They have been trying to plug offensive goals with players that would struggle to be a fourth liner on most teams. Tyler Kennedy has received 1st team power play time despite the fact that he shouldn't be on the ice. He's an example of player who could be valuable one night and scratched the next.


Betting Analysis:
The Devils have two of their top six forwards with injuries. Mike Cammalleri didn't practice last Monday with a hand injury is day to day but didn't play last night against Columbus. The team said he could be back their next game or two weeks from now. Jiri Tlusty will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a ligament in his right wrist. 

It appears that the Lightning will get leader scorer, Nikita Kucherov, back after practicing Wednesday. Kucherov was doing line rushes with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. 

When Steven Stamkos was moved back to the center position is made him more effective. First, Jon Cooper, shouldn't have moved Stamkos in the first place. Second, when General Manager, Steve Yzerman, came out and said Stamkos was off the market it allow his team to focus on hockey. Stamkos now leads the team in goals scored (26) while scoring a goal in each of his last four games. 

This is a game that the Lightning usually have little trouble putting in the win column. In their last 75 games the Lightning have won 51 of them against teams with a losing record and are 13-3 on the road against teams with a losing home record. Even though it will be a tough match, my NHL pick is Tampa Bay Lighting for Friday night's game.   

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NHL Pick: Tampa Bay -143
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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