NHL Picks: Trust Stamkos & Lightning To Strike Down Blues On Sunday

Dana Lane

Sunday, February 14, 2016 1:44 PM GMT

We look for our NHL picks as the Lightning, ranked 9th in my power rankings, are facing the Blues who are looking to solidy their playoff seeding in the Central.

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Free NHL Pick: Tampa Bay -140
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

History, Trends, & Game Overview
It appears that Steven Stamkos will still be a member of the Lightning (30-20-4 64 pts) on Sunday for this one, so as bettors, we might as well get as much out of Tampa while we can. The best part for us is you can guarantee Stamkos will be on top of his game every night which has turned into a tryout for the rest of the league. Stamkos has four points in his last four games. I'm not convinced that he and Head Coach, John Cooper, have always seen eye to eye especially after Stamkos was moved to the wing in an effort to get better shots, but it's obvious Stamkos has never liked this move as he would prefer being back at center. He is one pace to have his worst season since 2008-2009, his rookie season. He does have a no-trade clause in his contract so he would have to approve any pending deal.

In the meantime, Stamos has helped Tampa to nine straight home wins and could help Tampa tie their all-time record for consecutive wins at home (10). In beating Nashville, 4-3 in overtime Friday, I didn't feel as if the Lightning played their best game and many of their post game comments reflected that. When I have a lockeroom that says that and I know they can back it up with the quality of players they have, it's a good spot to bet them the next game as they should be even more focused. Few could blame them if they were more concerned about the Blues than the Predators.

St.Louis (31-17-9 71 pts) have beaten Tampa four straight times including a 2-0 victory in late October. Jake Allen stopped 26 shots to preserve the victory but times chance. Allen will not be in the Blues line-up while recovering from a knee injury. Brian Elliot is expected to start. Elliot has been fantastic in his abscense going 8-3-2, with a 1.77 goals against average in 13 straight starts. He is also 3-0 against Tampa with a sparkling 1.33 goals against. I've always thought of Elliot as inconsistent which with all this consistency means I'm banking on him going cold, at least in this one. I didn't think he was particularly strong at Florida, but his offense scored five goals to mask his preformance. He has never been agressive enough in goal. 

I also need to see more out of Blues leading scorer, Vladimir Tarasenko, to declare him slump free. He has two goals in his last three games but prior to that had just one in 11 games. 

 

Betting Analysis
St.Louis has alternated wins and losses in their last five trips to Tampa, the last, a 6-3 win last season.

Most bettors focus on teams' last 2-3 games as the basis for their handicapping, but when you look at the big picture, for St.Louis, it's clear that they are starting a trend of inconsistency. In their last 20 games following a win, the Blues have won just six of their last 14.

I can't back the Blues with my NHL picks, especially on the road where the Lightning have a solid 54-24 record over their last 78 games. And with Tampa Bay a solid -140 on the NHL odds boards, I will back them today.