April 18, 2011

Free Hockey Picks: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 3 Preview

The Tampa Bay Lightning did what they had to do in the Steel City, taking one of the two games from the Pittsburgh Penguins to swing home ice advantage back in their corner. Now, they scene shifts to the St. Pete Times Forum on Monday night for Game 3 of Stanley Cup playoff betting action.

The Penguins really didn’t look all that sharp in Game 1 of this series until early in the third period when they scored two goals in 18 seconds. In Game 2, they really looked pretty darn bad from start to finish. It’s clear that, without Sidney Crosby in the fold, Pittsburgh really needs a yeoman’s effort from its defense and from its goaltending to get the job done and to advance into the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Marc-Andre Fleury did his job in the first game of this best of seven set, stopping all 32 shots that he faced for his fourth shutout of the year. It was also his fifth shutout in his postseason career. Still, for as great as Fleury was in Game 1, he was that bad and more in Game 2. Tampa Bay only fired off 20 shots at him in net over the course of the second game, and Fleury only stopped 16 of them, much to the chagrin of the fans in the Steel City. If all of this doesn’t improve and Fleury doesn’t get back on track, the Penguins are in a boatload of trouble.

The Lightning really did a nice job getting out of Pittsburgh with a split of the NHL playoff betting proceedings, but they really have an issue right now. Their leader and top scorer, Steven Stamkos has yet to hit the stat sheet in two games. Sure, we’ve seen players hit two game skids all the time and then fire back with a four point game. Still, with this lack of shots in Game 2, the Stammer really needs to be the one that steps up and helps his team out, especially on its home ice. The good news is that men like Eric Brewer (1 goal, 2 assists), Vincent LeCavalier (1 goal), Martin. St. Louis (1 goal, 1 assist), and Simon Gagne (3 assists) were really able to step up to the plate and help the team out. It has also helped Head Coach Guy Boucher and company that Dwayne Roloson has been great in the pipes. Save for a bad 18 second stretch in which he was beaten twice, Roloson has been fantastic. He has allowed just one goal aside from that, and he did so on 36 shots allowed in Game 2.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick: The Penguins really should be in a position to win a game in Tampa Bay, but they just haven’t played well at the St. Pete Times Forum for whatever reason. The black and gold are in some serious trouble, and the Lightning -130 is the proper pick for Game 3 between these two evenly matched teams.

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Andrew Ryan

Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.

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