NHL Picks of the Day: Wednesday's Best Play & Early Look at Thursday's Selection

Steven Suarez

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 2:37 PM GMT

Wednesday, Apr. 29, 2015 2:37 PM GMT

Everything is on the line when the Lightning and Red Wings go at it this evening. A spot in the next round is up for grabs - who are we backing with our NHL picks?

All eyes are on this game, as it's the only one scheduled for Wednesday. Game 7s are always thrilling, and tonight's edition between Tampa Bay and Detroit should be no different. Let's run over this matchup.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings
What a series this has been.

In true playoff nature, it's been an up and down ride for both teams. The Lightning and Red Wings have alternated wins and losses in each of the first six games of this series. If that trend continues, it would mean Detroit would be securing the Game 7 victory.

However, the NHL betting odds suggest that's not going to be easy, and we have to agree. Tampa Bay is a heavy -180 favorite to come through at home and advance on to the next round. The Lightning were facing elimination two nights ago, but went into Detroit and put forth an impressive offensive display, registering five goals on their way to a 5-2 win. Now they're back at home with a chance to move on to the next round.

Nikita Kucherov was at the heart of essentially everything Tampa Bay did in the Game 6 win, as he picked up three assists and was at his playmaking best. Ben Bishop did enough in goal and the Lightning used a nice first period (2-0) to set the tone for the rest of the game.

Will Detroit be able to respond in Game 7? The Red Wings have already beaten the Lightning in Tampa Bay twice in this series, so they have to be feeling confident that they can get it done. The momentum shifts in this series have been crazy, however, so it's hard to know which version of both teams we're going to get.

You'd have to think that this will be a hard-fought and close game throughout, unlike some of the other matchups we've seen earlier in the series. But, ultimately we look for Tampa Bay to break the trend of alternating wins and losses by picking up a second straight victory and delight the home crowd in the process. The Lightning have more firepower and are going to have a rowdy crowd behind them, so we like them just as much as odds makers do. Whether you want to play it safe and take them on the moneyline or take a chance on the puckline is entirely up to you. Or you can fade us completely and take Detroit instead. Your choice!

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Thursday Look-Ahead
In the second round of the postseason, starting Thursday, we'll have the New York Rangers at home to the Washington Capitals, which will then be followed by the Anaheim Ducks up against the Calgary Flames.

The Rangers are heavy favorites in Game 1, listed at -165 to -170 to get the job done, and we see something similar in the other matchup, with the Ducks quoted at -190 to secure the victory and go up 1-0 in the series.

We've already witnessed some crazy happenings in the NHL playoffs and the second round promises to bring even more entertainment, but more imporantly more chances for us to take advantage of weak spots in the available odds. The Rangers and Ducks are the favorites when looking at the series prices, but anything can happen and a surprise in Game 1 could set the tone going forward. Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals and Jiri Hudler and the Flames will be looking to break some home-crowd hearts on Thursday night so back them with your NHL picks.

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