Eastern Conference Finals Picks: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins Game 5 Predictions
After four games played in amazingly close fashion, either the Boston Bruins or the Tampa Bay Lightning will end up being pushed to the brink of elimination in NHL playoffs betting action on Monday night. Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals is slated for 8:00 ET at the TD Garden, and it should be one that you won’t want to miss our NHL picks on!
For Tampa Bay, the biggest question is whether we are going to see Dwayne Roloson or Mike Smith in net. Hockey betting action is all about “What have you done for me lately?” and if that’s what we’re going by, we have to think that Smith is going to get the start. In this series, the Lightning have just responded better to Smith being between the pipes, as they have outscored the Bruins 7-0 with him out there. The man they call “Smitty” has stopped all 29 of his shots faced here in the Eastern Conference Finals, which isn’t bad for a man that hadn’t been in a game in well over a month before that. Regardless, we know that the potential is there for a heck of a lot of offense to come out of this game for the ‘Ning. They have scored five goals in three of the four games in this series and in four of the last five games, and they have scored at least four goals nine times in these playoffs, easily the best in the league.
And then there’s Tim Thomas, who is literally sitting there scratching his head about how hard it has been to outshine a has been in Smith and a 41 year old retread in Roloson in this series. The fact of the matter is that the Tampa Bay offense has just been brutal to him for this entire series, save for that lackluster Game 3 in which the Bolts were shut out on their home ice. The good news though, is that Patrice Bergeron is back and he is making a slew of difference for the Bruins. Sure, he didn’t get his name in the stat book in his first game back in the lineup in Game 3 after missing Games 1 and 2 with a concussion, but he sure as heck did in Game 4! Bergeron created a slew of Tampa Bay mistakes and parlayed those mistakes into goals, scoring a pair of unassisted goals in the first period, the latter of which came shorthanded. Bergeron, the team leader in assists with 10 in these playoffs, is clearly a difference maker on the ice, as the Boston assault just looks so much better with him out there than if he isn’t.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins Pick: The Lightning are the team on fire right now, and though in the playoffs, we generally know that a great goaltender can trump even the greatest of offenses, we haven’t seen many offensive displays like the one that the Bolts have shown thus far in the playoffs. That being said, a lesser goalie might have allowed 20 goals to Tampa Bay in this series, and Thomas is doing everything that he can, but when push comes to shove, we have to go with the Lightning +130 on Monday night.
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