Pick Red Wings Plus Odds In Toss-Up Game 2 vs. Lightning

Mark Lathrop

Friday, April 15, 2016 12:00 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 15, 2016 12:00 PM UTC

Our NHL handicapper looks at Game 2 between the Lightning and Red Wings, and who has the upper hand in terms of wagering value, so join us as we look for the best NHL Pick.

In this second game of the quarterfinal series in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Red Wings stay in Tampa to play the Tampa Bay Lightning after dropping the first game, 3-2. The Tampa Bay Lightning are favored at home in this game, as they still should be, because they play much better at home than on the road. The current NHL odds have the Lightning favored at -160 at Bovada, while the O/U total can be found at the very common number of 5 across the board with no lean towards to under or over with the juice.

Ben Bishop certainly proved that he was up to the task in the crease as he slightly improved on his career best 2.06 goals allowed average from the regular season in letting the Red Wings net 2 goals on Wednesday night. And he was under fire most of the game, as the Red Wings outshot the Lightning overall in Game 1. But he wasn’t without fault, as there were many long rebounds that were just outside of the reach of Red Wing skaters, or were otherwise not taken advantage of when they could have been.

Instead of Petr Mrazek starting for the Red Wings like I had assumed, Jimmy Howard got the start in Game 1 of this series. He performed admirably, giving up 3 goals on 34 shots for a .912 save percentage. Now, Howard and Mrazek have been sharing the job all year, so I think the Red Wings are just fine with either tending the net.

Picking up 2 assists on Wednesday night was Spokane, Washington native, Tyler Johnson. The 5’ 8” center has been a sparkplug for the Lightning offense since last year. (Does lightning even need a sparkplug? I digress) I’ve watched Johnson many times being an Eastern Washington native myself as a member of the junior hockey Spokane Chiefs and the area here is abuzz with his performance. I don’t know if this will affect my lean on this game, but I think that someone succeeding in a professional sport in spite of their size limitations should be commended. Someone go pat Tom Cruise on the back.

Game 1 was quite chippy, with a lot of time played with a man advantage on either side. 36 total minutes of penalties were handed out in the game. Now, I will go back here to what made me have a slight lean towards Detroit in Game 1, in that Tampa Bay has struggled in converting power plays all year. In fact, they have only converted 1 power play in 20 chances over their last five games. This will eventually catch up with them if the games are called as tight as game 1 was in regards to penalties.

The Lightning were able to win in game 1 without the services of starters Steven Stamkos (team captain and leading scorer) and Anton Stralman. But I can’t get past the fact that they were not the most aggressive team in this game, and that Detroit is playing with really no expectations and nothing to lose. In fact, they were leading through much of the 2nd period of the game on Wednesday night.  I believe that this is truly a tossup until I see something otherwise, which is why my lean is on the plus odds and taking the Detroit Red Wings +144 at Heritage as my game 2 NHL Pick.

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NHL Pick:  Red Wings +140
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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