NHL Picks: Penguins Will Prove Immunity vs. Lightning In Game 6

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 6:20 PM GMT

Tuesday, May. 24, 2016 6:20 PM GMT

Our NHL handicapping professional provides us with an in depth preview for Tuesday’s game between Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. Go inside to read this compelling article with concludes with a NHL pick.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL Eastern Final Game 6 Betting Preview
The Penguins and Lightning square off for Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Finals series on Tuesday. The opening faceoff at the Amalie Center in Tampa, Florida is slated for 8:05 PM ET. By virtue of their 4-3 come from behind overtime win in Game 5, Tampa Bay has a 3-2 series lead, and Pittsburgh finds themselves on the brink of elimination. Tuesday’s game will mark the first time this postseason in which the Penguins are facing a possibility of extinction from these 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. These teams have gone 6-1-1 over the total in their eight games played against one another this season. Current NHL odds at Bookmaker have Pittsburgh as a -140 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.5. Bookmaker also indicates that 64% of bets made at this juncture have been made on going over the total.

 

Penguins Resiliency
Are you wondering how Pittsburgh is going to respond after sustaining such a devastating overtime defeat in Game 5? Well, all I can tell you is this, Pittsburgh has gone a perfect 16-1 in their last seventeen games following a loss, and that includes 4-1 during the playoffs. Their only blemish on their record in that regard happened in Game 5 on Sunday. The Penguins are 4-3 on the road during these playoffs, and that includes 2-0 following a loss.

 

Goaltending Dilemma
The biggest question mark surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins regarding tonight’s crucial game is who will be in goal? As of 12:40 PM ET on game day, 21-year-old Matt Murray is listed as the probable starter. Murray was inserted as Pittsburgh’s starter for Game 3 of their opening round series against the Rangers, and that began a streak of thirteen straight starts. That streak came to a halt as a result of the Penguins coaching staff opting to go with veteran Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 5. Fleury was making his first start since sustaining a concussion during a game against Nashville way back on 3/31, and his rust was apparent. Fleury allowed 4 goals on just 25 shots during that outing. He’s also garnered the reputation in his career as a great regular season goaltender, and that of a choke artist in recent postseasons. Conversely, Murray is 9-4 in his thirteen postseason starts while compiling a rock solid .923 save percentage. In addition to his one start, Fleury also relieved Murray in Game 4, and has an awful .875 save percentage during those outings.

 

Elimination Games for Lightning
Tampa Bay’s roster went through very little changeover this season after reaching the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals. Having said that, I think it would be a relevant factor to see how they fared in elimination games during the past two postseasons. After all, during that time frame, Tampa Bay has won five of six playoff series. They’ve gone a combined 6-3 in elimination games which includes 2-0 in 2016. Additionally, during the last two years, Tampa Bay is a mediocre 13-11 following a playoff win.

 

Final Thoughts and Pick
You can surely make a case that Pittsburgh deserves a better fate than being down 3-2 in this series. They’ve had a cumulative 196-131 shots on goal advantage, and a massive +13.0 shots on goal per game differential. As a matter of fact, Pittsburgh has averaged an impressive 39.2 shots on goal per outing in the first five games of these Eastern Conference Finals. Considering their recent success after suffering a loss, and their huge territorial edge in this series, I’m going with the road favorite Penguins for one of my Tuesday NHL picks regardless of who’s in goal.

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Free NHL Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins -131
Best Line Offered: at Heritage 

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